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JBLM to join annual drug return effort

Published: 04:16PM April 24th, 2014

The Eighth National Prescription Drug Take Back Day will take place Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Joint Base Lewis-McChord will again join the national effort.

“Twice a year the Drug Enforcement Agency establishes a day aimed to allow the safe turn-in of unused and unwanted prescription drugs,” said Mike Kyser, an environmental protection specialist at Madigan Army Medical Center and one of the local event’s planners. “We’re excited to once again join this national effort and offer an opportunity for those residing on JBLM to safely, conveniently and anonymously turn-in their unwanted or expired over-the-counter and prescription medications for free.”

Volunteers from Madigan’s Environmental Health and Pharmacy Department, JBLM’s Army Substance Abuse Program and the 42nd Military Police Brigade will be collecting the prescription drugs in the parking lots of the JBLM Lewis-Main and the McChord Field Exchanges.

Beyond the drug collection, the biannual event is designed to address associated public safety and public health issues, as well as offer an opportunity for communities to raise awareness on the dangers of prescription drug abuse and the importance of proper drug disposal.

“Unused medicines that hang around in home cabinets are highly susceptible to accidental ingestion and misuse,” said Col. Don Goode, Madigan’s pharmacy chief. “Also, many people will dispose of unused medicines by flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash, but both of these methods pose potential safety and health hazards,” Goode said.

Past Prescription Drug Take Back Days on the installation have seen hundreds of pounds of unused prescriptions and over the counter medications collected. JBLM officials have high hopes that this year’s event will be equally successful.

“This is a great opportunity for folks to spring clean their medicine cabinets and safely dispose of all their old, unwanted or expired medications,” Goode said .

Anyone residing outside of JBLM or unable to make it onto the installation that day can to take their medications to a community collection site. To locate a site near you, visit www.dea.gov and enter your zip code or city and state for a list of local opportunities.

To protect privacy, participants are reminded to remove their personal information labels. All solid dosage medication and liquids in consumer containers will be accepted. Intravenous solutions, injectibles, syringes or any other medical waste will not be accepted due to the potential biohazard risks.