TRICARE supports DEA's National Medication Take Back Day

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National Medication Take Back Day is being observed 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 J. McGinnis, chief of TRICARE's pharmaceutical operations. "This is convenient and environmentally safe way for TRICARE beneficiaries to clean out their medicine cabinets of unwanted and outdated medications."

Many people are not aware that medicines left at home are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse, according to DEA officials. Each day, approximately, 2,500 teens use prescription drugs to get high for the first time according to representatives of 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 an Environmental Protection Agency report.

This program addresses a vital public safety and public health issue, according to DEA officials.

Prescription and over-the-counter solid dosage medications, i.e., tablets and capsules are 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 DEA officials, the American public turned in more than 121 tons of pills that day.

To find a collection site, go to and click on the "Got Drugs?" banner across the top of the home page. This directs beneficiaries to a database where they can enter their ZIP code.