Special to the Hood Herald

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND. Md. - Sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration, National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day day is specifically set aside to allow an opportunity to safely dispose of unused, unwanted or expired medications at authorized locations in local communities.

Observed nationally on April 28, Fort Hood will observe Take-Back Day April 27, with a booth at the Month of the Military Child Festival.

Prescription drug use has increased over the years in the military. More than 110,000 active-duty Army troops last year took antidepressants, sedatives and other prescription medications, according to the Army surgeon general.

About 17 percent of military personnel reported misusing prescription drugs, including stimulants (other than methamphetamine), tranquilizers/muscle relaxers, sedatives/barbiturates, pain relievers, anabolic steroids, and erectile dysfunction drugs, according to the 2008 Department of Defense Survey of Health-Related Behaviors.

The prescription drug misuse rate for active-duty Army members was even higher at 23.5 percent. Pain relievers, as in the civilian population, were the most commonly misused or abused type of prescription drug across the military services and in the Army specifically.

These numbers point to the need for soldiers and their family members to take a second look at how they handle prescription drugs, including those they no longer can use.

That second look could start with the home medicine cabinet. "Studies are now showing that the majority of high school teenagers who start experimenting with recreational use of prescription drugs start by swiping them from the family medicine cabinet," said Maj. Clifton Dabbs, a physician at the U.S. Army Public Health Command. "It's best to secure your prescription medication in a safe location that is not accessible to children, pets or visitors."

Fort Hood observance

Fort Hood will observe National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on April 27 with a booth at the Month of the Military Child Festival inside the 79th Street gate to Fort Hood.

For more information on National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day or to locate a collection center near you, go to http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/index.html.

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