Story by A1C Hailey Bivens on 06/03/2019When receiving over-the-counter medication, there is a timeline for when it is allowed to be taken. What if there's left over medication from a previous prescription?
Airmen at Mountain Home Air Force Base can deposit any unused prescription medication into the Med Safe box at the Medical Treatment Facility year round.
"It is open during the duty hours of the pharmacy, Monday through Friday 07:30am to 05:00pm," said Tech. Sergeant Jennifer Lake, 366th Medical Support Squadron pharmacy section chief. "It allows people to deposit their unused medication at any given time versus the old system where we would dispose of medication twice a year."
Once medication is dropped in the box it can't be taken out. This feature reduces the possibility of theft and abuse.
After the box fills up all the medication inside it is disposed.
"They are actually sent to a third party that is signed off by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)," Lake said. "The entire inner container and the products inside of it get incinerated to a dust so theres nothing left for anybody to get a hold of."
The overall goal is to prevent the possibility of abuse and safely get rid of medication in a way that doesn't harm the environment.
"It does make it easier on our patients to get rid of their medications in a safe manner because pouring them down the sink is bad for the environment and putting them in the trash could potentially lead to others abusing it," said Staff Sergeant Ryan Bakke, 366th Medical Support Squadron pharmacy technician. "We want to cut down on drug abuse and environmental impact."
There are instructions on the box itself and if Airmen, families or retirees are unsure of what to do, they are encouraged to approach anyone from the pharmacy staff.
"We all take care of it whenever it gets full and when a patient asks How do I get rid of my meds?' we just let them know they can use the box and they don't even have to wait in line. It's easy," Bakke said.