MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune had its first Drug Take-Back program at the Marine Corps Exchange, Saturday, but certainly not its last. In the first half hour of the take-back, the program saw service members and families stopping by and dropping off all manner of medications.
The program is part of a nationwide mission of properly disposing of prescribed medications and over-the-counter drugs. According to an Associated Press investigation it was discovered that the drinking water of at least 41 million Americans contained a vast array of pharmaceuticals and since then the nation has been working to promote proper disposal.
“Getting rid of the drugs helps prevent accidental ingestion or abuse,” said Navy Lt. Sonja DiazSevilla, a pharmacist with Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune. “About 10 percent of the medications we have gotten rid of have been controlled substances.”
The military police helped the Naval Hospital properly disposed of the drugs.
“We’re going to set up an appointment with the Hanover Burn Center and destroy the medications properly; this method is a lot safer than just flushing them down the toilet,” said James Harris, with physical security and crime prevention, Provost Marshal’s Office, MCB Camp Lejeune. “If left where they were, they would be dangerous and might possibly hurt someone if ingested. Especially children, since they are always curious.”
For one Marine, the Drug Take Back program was a proper way for him to dispose of his own prescribed medication.
“I had recently hurt my ankle and was given Naproxen to reduce the swelling,” said Lance Cpl. Dustin Hanners, a dispersing clerk with Company A, Headquarters and Support Battalion, MCB Camp Lejeune. “When I heard about this program I decided it wouldn’t take long to drive there and dispose of the meds. It’s also a great way to dispose of expired or unused medications.”
At the end of the program, more than 200,000 units of medication were turned in. Items ranged from pills and liquids to aerosols, creams and injectable medications.
“This exceeded our expectations,” said DiazSevilla. “While we were counting out the amount of medications turned in, people were still bringing in handfuls of drugs.”
In three months, the program will once again be available to service members and their families. For more information about the Drug Take-Back program visit whitehousedrugpolicy.org.