October 24, 2013 --
Law enforcement officials and the Substance Abuse Counseling Center at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany are partnering with the Drug Enforcement Administration to conduct the National Prescription Drug Take Back Campaign here today.
“(The campaign) is designed to give the public a safe and secure manner to dispose of old pharmaceuticals they may have in the home,” Rick Dunwoodie, special agent, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, said. “This is important because these drugs pose a danger to anyone taking them outside of being prescribed by a physician.”
Dunwoodie said children can get their hands on the drugs or they can be obtained from someone burglarizing a home, especially if it is known a person has prescription drugs in his or her possession.
“It is important to dispose of them for your own safety because many of these medications have a shelf life, which causes them to lose their effectiveness once they have expired,” he said.
“Ultimately, a person can be taking drugs that are not doing what they are supposed to because they have expired,” Dunwoodie added.
“These are just some of the risks the medications can pose to individuals who have access to or possession of them,” he said.
Dunwoodie also noted most people who dispose of unused medications do it in one of two ways - either by throwing them in the trash can or flushing them down the toilet, which is not the preferred method.
“I’ve done a lot of work with Drug Enforcement Administration over the past several years,” he said. “(I) only became aware of this campaign through my interaction with them.
“We thought this would be a good opportunity to raise awareness and give the people who live and work on the installation a place to bring their medications while here at work,” Dunwoodie added.
Judy Bowles, executive director, Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful and coordinator of the community’s annual Operation Pill Drop, said this is an awareness event to alert citizens that medications disposed of improperly can affect the environment in a negative way.
“Medications thrown in the trash can leach into the environment and flushed drugs can kill bacteria that breaks down waste in our waste water treatment plant,” she said.
“These medications can damage septic systems and can contaminate nearby waterways and harm aquatic wildlife, Bowles continued.”
She noted a collection event, like the one here on base, not only results in proper disposal of unwanted and/or outdated drugs, but allows individuals to remove medications from their medicine cabinets that could fall into the wrong hands.
According to the website, www.dea diversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/index.html, on Sept. 29, 2012, DEA’s state, local and tribal law enforcement partners, working at more than 5,263 locations, collected 488,395 pounds of prescription medications from the public.
When added to the collections from DEA’s previous four Take-Back events, more than 2 million pounds of prescription medications were removed from circulation, according to the website.
The base event will be today from 7-8 a.m. at Marine Depot Maintenance Command’s Gates 4 and 5 and in its main lobby from 9-10 a.m.; 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. at the Marine Corps Exchange and 2-4 p.m. at the Naval Branch Health Clinic.
Saturday’s schedule, which is the national recognition day, will be from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the Marine Corps Police Department and Lee County Sheriff’s Office in the lobby located at 119 Pinewood Road, Leesburg, Ga.
For more information, call 800-882-9539.