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Base takes back 54 pounds of prescription drugs, makes community safer

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas - Team Goodfellow members dispose of unused prescription drugs at the Exchange entrance on National Prescription Drug Take Back Day Sept. 27. The Drug Enforcement Agency nationally sponsors this event with the 17th Security Forces Squadron and the 17th Medical Group sponsoring it locally. The goal of Drug Take Back Day is to provide safe, convenient and responsible means of medication disposal, while educating the general public about the potential for abuse of these medications. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Staff Sgt. Austin Knox)

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas - Team Goodfellow members dispose of unused prescription drugs at the Exchange entrance on National Prescription Drug Take Back Day Sept. 27. The Drug Enforcement Agency nationally sponsors this event with the 17th Security Forces Squadron and the 17th Medical Group sponsoring it locally. The goal of Drug Take Back Day is to provide safe, convenient and responsible means of medication disposal, while educating the general public about the potential for abuse of these medications. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Staff Sgt. Austin Knox)

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Members from the 17th Security Forces Squadron and the 17th Medical Group hosted the base's Drug Take-Back Day Sept. 27 at the Exchange collecting 54 pounds of prescription medication.

Sponsored nationally, the event is hosted by the Drug Enforcement Agency with the goal to provide a safe, convenient and responsible means of medication disposal, while educating the general public about the potential for abuse of these medications. 

The partnership between 17th SFS and 17th MDG is required under the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which requires controlled substance medications to only be accepted by fulltime law enforcement officers at drug take-back events.

Capt. Jin H. Kim, 17th MDG Diagnostics and Therapeutics Flight Commander said, there were no goals for the take-back day, but the event is considered a success when just one person turns in their unused medication.

A national survey on drug use and health reported approximately 70 percent of children who abuse prescription drugs get them from friends or family. Drugs can be hazardous to individuals who take medications not prescribed to them. 

"Drugs can be poison to those patients not prescribed to them," Kim said. "For example, those with heart issues may be prescribed blood thinners, and these can be fatal to those who don't need them."

Many people often keep their unused medication or dispose of them in lavatories or trash, but it is important to know the threats these ill-advised practices hold.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency's 2014 Drug Disposal Guidelines, proper disposal of medicines is important because it deters misuse, prevents accidental poisoning and keeps the water clean; generally, water treatment plants are not equipped to routinely remove medicines.

Drug take-backs have taken place across the country with partnerships in the community and military installations. 

In a May 18 release, DEA reported 780,158 pounds of prescription medications were collected from members of the public at more than 6,072 locations manned by 4,423 state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies that partnered with DEA.  DEA's previous events collected more than 4.1 million pounds of prescription medications, removing them from circulation.