Unwanted, unused, and expired prescription drugs are a major contributor to prescription drug abuse, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy. And nearly one third of suicide attempts among veterans involve prescription medicines. But a change in the rules at the Drug Enforcement Administration now allows military treatment facilities to accept and dispose of those unused medications. The Department of Defense was the first federal agency to put the “Drug Take Back” program into effect nationwide for its beneficiaries.
Military treatment facility pharmacies can accept legal prescription and over-the-counter bottled pills, tablets and capsules, ointments, creams, lotions, powders, and liquid medicines that are no more than 4 ounces. (Pet medicines are included.)
Patients can take the drugs to their faculty or send them by mail in a special envelope available at some military treatment facility pharmacies.
Bringing back the drugs not only helps the environment by reducing the amount of drugs that can filter through water supplies and landfills, but it also cuts down on the risk of accidental or intentional drug misuse. “DoD and the [Military Health System] are committed to reducing the risk of prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse in the military community, supporting the nation’s efforts to reduce opioid abuse,” said Dr. George Jones, chief of the Defense Health Agency’s Pharmacy Operations Division, in a news report on health.mil.