By Army Substance Abuse Program
Special to GUIDON
At a recent public awareness event here at Fort Leonard Wood, a visitor told Army Substance Abuse Program employees that after a graduation party for their child, they discovered that prescription medications had been stolen by one of their guests out of a medicine cabinet.
What is the prudent response to these risks?
Proper storage and disposal.
Fort Leonard Wood ASAP recommends that prescription and non-prescription medications subject to abuse (Pain medications, cold medications, sleep aids, ADHD medications, etc.) be stored in locked containers accessible only to adults in the home.
Several online retailers sell lock boxes for this purpose, but a locking document box or file drawer could also be used for this purpose. If additional security is needed, the location of the box can be kept secret and the medications can be dispensed as needed by parents or caretakers.
Medications that are expired or no longer needed should be disposed of properly. If you have medications left over from a surgery or a dental procedure several months or years ago you need to get those out of the house. Keeping them around is an accident or a temptation waiting to happen. If you have an issue in the future that requires prescription medication, it’s far better to return to the doctor and get the right medication than to use something you happen to have sitting around from a previous medical issue.
The installation is fortunate to have a convenient drug disposal point at General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital in the area of the main pharmacy. Some of our surrounding communities have similar disposal sites at local pharmacies or the police station.
If this is not an option, the FDA website has recommendations for disposal by medication type. These include mixing pills with dirt or kitty litter and disposing of them separate from their packaging or flushing down the toilet.
Most prescription pain medications (opioids in particular) should be flushed if a disposal site is not an option.
ASAP is scheduled to be at the Fort Leonard Wood Main Exchange to promote medication safety Aug. 8. There will be literature and activities and ASAP Specialists will be on hand to talk about medication safety and other issues related to substance abuse.
For more information, call ASAP at 573.596.0938.