By CATRINA FRANCIS
Gold Standard Senior Staff Writer
For some in the community Saturday was about spring cleaning, which included turning in expired and unused prescribed and over-the-counter medications at the annual Prescription Take Back Day event in the lobby of the Exchange.
Sue Lowrie, an Army Substance Abuse Program prevention coordinator, said the day was unbelievable because in October 2013 112 pounds of expired and unused medications were turned for disposal, but Saturday was a record-breaking day with 296.92 pounds.
“We suspected due to the crowds that a lot of people heard the advertisement ‘to turn those drugs in for disposal,’ but we never felt this many would show,” said Lowrie about the record breaking turn in. “I believe more people are aware of the importance of disposing these unused drugs before they fall into the wrong hands.
“No one wants to see a child take pills because they’re curious or they think it’s candy. As for controlled drugs such as narcotics, we had several people showing with their pain pills wanting to get them out of the house due to their kids. The public is more aware than ever and they feel they can make a difference.”
Unlike past years when all medications were placed into a box, this year’s Prescription Take Back Day was done a little different. Pills and liquids were separated as much as possible. Lowrie pointed out that many people still had their medications wrapped in packages which made it a little more difficult to separate the two.
In addition to ASAP, the 34th Military Police Detachment and a pharmacy technician from Fort Knox’s Ireland Army Community Hospital were on hand to assist with collection and disposal. Staff Sgt. Larry Madison, an IRACH pharmacy technician, said most frequent question that was asked had to do with needles.
“(People wanted to know) where (they) could drop off their needles,” said Madison.
After everything was collected the MPs had taped 18 boxes for disposal. Lowrie said after the boxes were secured the MPs turned the medications into the Kentucky State Police in Elizabethtown, Ky.
“The Kentucky State Police takes the drugs to Louisville to the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) disposal,” explained Lowrie.
“Prescription Take Back Day is an event that was and still is an initiative of (the) DEA that is done twice a year.
“Fort Knox ASAP has been involved since it started a few years ago and each event gets bigger and bigger in number of people and weight of drugs collected.”