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News | Oct. 27, 2022

Turn in Unwanted Drugs on National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

By Keisha Frith

Womack Army Medical Center (WAMC) and the Army Substance Abuse Program (ASAP) are coming together on Oct. 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to assist Fort Bragg residents with the proper disposal of prescription drugs during this year’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

An information table will be available outside of the WAMC emergency department to provide information and resources to help with the anonymous disposal of medication and discuss medication safety.

“We want your meds, bring your meds to us, open your drawers and if you see medication that you are no longer using, we have resources on how you can properly dispose of them and keep your family, friends, and pets safe,” said Capt. Ogechukwu Erinne, pharmacy resident, WAMC Pharmacy.

Saving medication after the doctor says stop after health improvement or change in medication therapy is highly discouraged.
“Medications expire, health situations change over time and should be re-evaluated by their provider,” said Katrina Kilmartin-Baucom, prevention coordinator, ASAP. “New medications become available each year and could be potentially more effective than the ones that are being saved for future possible use.”

According to Kilmartin-Baucom, thousands of pounds of prescription medications have been turned in over the years, both locally and nationally, however there is major room for increased participation including at Fort Bragg.

The WAMC pharmacy has blue medsafe drop boxes available at any time for the disposal of unused and expired medication. They are located at the Clinic Mall, Emergency Room entrance and the Annex Pharmacy. Mail-in envelopes are also available upon request at all pharmacies. If this is not a feasible option, then another alternative is to place medication into cat litter and dispose in the garbage or flushing. To be sure it’s flushable it’s important to check Center for Disease Control website for the flush list. Residents can also utilize several medication disposals sites available on the installation.

“If there are no injectables, any medication can go into the medsafe drop box, to get rid of unnecessary medication out of the public and prevent them from going down the pipeline and contaminating water,” said Erinne.
The use of unused medication can also cause accidental overdose or lead to other issues, if taken recreationally. Their goal is to continue to encourage the use of medsafe to get rid of unused medication.

There will be opportunities for consultation with a pharmacist about the drug naloxone (Narcan) that works to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration naloxone can save someone’s life during an opioid overdose.

Individuals can visit the table for more information regarding proper medication disposal or consult their pharmacist for more information.

“Please come dispose of unneeded, expired, and unused medications,” said Kilmartin-Baucom. “Additional information, resources, and items will be available as well.”
Don't forget to keep your family's information up-to-date in DEERS.