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Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet: Oct. 26 is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day


FALLS CHURCH, Va. – Beneficiaries of the TRICARE military health plan have a safe and easy way to dispose of excess prescription drugs.

During the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA's) semiannual National Prescription Drug Take-back Day, collection sites will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 26 for people to bring excess prescription drugs that otherwise could be misused or abused or could cause environmental contamination.

According to the 2011 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, twice as many Americans regularly abused prescription drugs than the number of those who regularly used cocaine, hallucinogens, heroin and inhalants combined. The same study revealed more than 70 percent of people abusing prescription pain relievers got them through friends or relatives, a statistic that includes raiding the family medicine cabinet.

During DEA’s take-back day in April, more than 371 tons of unneeded prescription medications were collected at more than 5,800 locations. The last six take-back days have collected and removed from circulation more than 2.8 million pounds of prescription medications.

Prescription and over-the-counter “solid dosage” medications—tablets and capsules—are accepted, but intravenous solutions, injectable medications and needles are not. Illicit substances such as marijuana or methamphetamine are not a part of this program, officials said.

To find a collection site click the “Locate Collection Sites” link at Defense Health Agency officials said many military installations participate in this event, including Fort Hood, Texas; Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.; the Naval Medical Center in San Diego; and Fort Benning, Ga.

Last Updated 10/1/2015