Marines

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A wide variety of medications which were turned in by a patron sits at the Marine Corps Exchange Pharmacy during the Drug Take-Back program, March 20. The program gives service members and civilians with access to the base a chance to properly dispose of medications, many of which find their way back into the water system after being improperly disposed of. (Courtesy photo by: Navy Lt. Sonja DiazSevilla)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Victor Barrera

Medications turned in during Drug Take-Back program

19 Mar 2011 | Lance Cpl. Victor Barrera

Medications, be it over-the-counter or prescribed, can be deadly in the wrong hands and harmful if in reach of children. This is one of the many reasons that Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune personnel, with the help of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune’s Provost Marshal’s Office hosted its second Drug Take-Back program aboard the base, March 19 – 20.

Throughout both days, service members and civilians with access to the base dropped off medications that were expired, unused or just needed to be discarded.

“On the first day we collected more than 20,000 units of medication of which 1,900 had high abuse potential,” said Navy Lt. Sonja DiazSevilla, a pharmacist with the NHCL. “Doing this helps dispose of the drugs properly and prevents accidental ingestion and abuse.”

The program is just one of many Drug Take-Backs hosted throughout the nation. It offers people a chance to safely dispose of their medications, many of which are just dumped down the drain or thrown into a trash can.

These medications, when improperly disposed of can come back to hurt the environment as well as plants and animals. The drugs can seep back into the ground water and from there, it is a short trip into someone’s drinking water.

An Associated Press investigation, it was shown that medications including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans.

With Drug Take-Back programs like the one the naval hospital offers, personnel are ensuring that the medications don’t have a chance to get into the environment. Everything from aerosol, liquid and cream-based medications were allowed to be turned in.

“Once we’re done here, PMO will take the medications to the New Hanover Environmental Protection Agency approved incineration facility where it will be properly disposed of,” said DiazSevilla. “Without PMO none of this would be possible.”

The next Drug Take-Back event is slated for June and will be held at the same location.

For more information about the Drug Take-Back program, visit the website med.navy.mil/sites/nhcl.