FALLS CHURCH, Va. — Many service members and their families are gearing up to move this summer as peak moving season runs May through August each year. As you organize your house and belongings to prepare for your move, one area of your home you shouldn’t overlook is your medicine cabinet.
Now is the perfect time to get rid of items that are expired or no longer needed. With the Military Health System Drug Take Back program, you can safely and easily dispose of unwanted and expired medications at U.S. military pharmacies.
Two options for safe drug disposal
There are two free options for beneficiaries to dispose of their prescription and over-the-counter drugs safely. You can drop off old or expired drugs in secure collection boxes at military pharmacies, or send them by mail in a special envelope available at the military pharmacy. To find out which Drug Tack Back option your pharmacy has, contact your military hospital or clinic.
Accepted and non-accepted drugs
As you go through your medicine cabinet, you’ll want to know what the pharmacy accepts and what they don’t. Drugs accepted through the MHS Drug Take Back program include:
• Prescription and over-the-counter drugs
• Pills, tablets, capsules
• Liquid medicines (no more than 4 oz.)
For other items you want to toss, dispose of them properly by following other safe disposal guidelines. The Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Food and Drug Administration provides guidance for how to dispose of items not accepted through military pharmacies.
Benefits of safe drug disposal
Removing medications from your home helps prevent accidental drug misuse and drug abuse by family members and visitors to your home. More than 60,000 children in the U.S. go to the emergency room every year for accidentally swallowing medications. Over 70 percent of prescription pain drug abuse involves drugs obtained from a friend or relative. Getting rid of unused drugs keeps them out of the hands of children and others. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has more drug facts.
Another important reason for practicing safe drug disposal is that it reduces the number of chemicals that can get into the environment. Flushing unused drugs down the toilet may seem like a safe and easy solution, but it’s not encouraged. Unwanted drugs can get into drinking water systems and landfills if not disposed of properly.
Practicing good drug disposal habits benefits you, your family, and your community. If your medicine cabinet is full of expired or unneeded drugs, participate in a Drug Take Back option near you. While moving season is an easy time to do it, you can safely dispose of unwanted drugs year-round. For more information on how to safely dispose of drugs through the Drug Take Back program, visit the TRICARE website.