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NEWS | April 20, 2011

TRICARE supports DEA’s National Medication Take Back Day

By TRICARE media center

National Medication Take Back Day is April 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at many police departments, universities, hospitals and military installations across America. This one-day event, sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration, provides a venue for people to safely dispose of unwanted, unused and expired prescription drugs.

"TRICARE beneficiaries are encouraged to participate," said U.S. Public Health Service Rear Adm. Thomas McGinnis, chief of pharmaceutical operations, TRICARE. "This is a convenient and environmentally safe way for TRICARE beneficiaries to clean out their medicine cabinets of unwanted and outdated medications."

In the LowCountry, people can bring their medications to the North Charleston Police Department, North Charleston City Hall, 2500 City Hall Lane, or the Charleston County Sheriff's Office, 3505 Pinehaven Drive. The Charleston Police Department will be collecting medications at their headquarters at 180 Lockwood Blvd. and at the Citadel Mall in front of JC Penny's. Mount Pleasant residents can drop off their medications at the Mount Pleasant Police Department, 100 Ann Edwards Lane.

Many people are not aware that medicines left at home are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse, according to the DEA. Each day, approximately, 2,500 teens use prescription drugs to get high for the first time according to the Partnership for a Drug Free America. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including the home medicine cabinet.

Another advantage of this program is it discourages people from flushing drugs down their toilets. Drugs improperly disposed of wind up in rivers and lakes where they harm aquatic life and contaminate water supply, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Prescription and over-the-counter solid dosage medications, i.e., tablets and capsules will be accepted. Intra-venous solutions, injectables and needles will not be accepted. Illicit substances such as marijuana or methamphetamine are not a part of this program.

The first National Medication Take Back Day was held, Sept. 25, 2010. This effort was a "huge success," with approximately 3,000 state and local law enforcement agencies throughout the nation participating. According to the DEA, the American public turned in more than 121 tons of pills that day.