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MEDSAFE boxes allow Airmen to safely dispose of medicine

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – A patient disposes of old medication at the MEDSAFE disposal box located in the lobby of the Peterson Air Force Base Clinic on May 24, 2016. This box and another at the satellite pharmacy located in the base exchange, provide a safe way to keep unsafe substances from falling into the wrong hands. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Rose Gudex)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – A patient disposes of old medication at the MEDSAFE disposal box located in the lobby of the Peterson Air Force Base Clinic on May 24, 2016. This box and another at the satellite pharmacy located in the base exchange, provide a safe way to keep unsafe substances from falling into the wrong hands. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Rose Gudex)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – -- In an age where prescription drug abuse is becoming consistently more common, often with medications found around the household, Peterson Air Force Base and the 21st Medical Group took action to provide a way to properly dispose of those medications.

Two MEDSAFE disposal boxes were installed on base within the last year to allow patients a place to deposit unused medications, said Tech. Sgt. Sherri Griffin, 21st Medical Support Squadron NCO in charge of outpatient pharmacy. One box is located in the pharmacy lobby at the Peterson AFB Clinic and the other at the satellite pharmacy located at the base exchange.

“We would very often have people come and say they want to get rid of these meds and we would have to tell them to hold on to it because we can’t take it back,” she said.

Previously, there were specific days dedicated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency where prescription medications were allowed to be dropped off at designated locations, however she said that was only once a quarter. In addition, the new disposal boxes allow controlled prescription medications to be disposed of, which wasn’t allowed before.

“You can drop off any unused meds,” Griffin said. “Anything that’s not liquid or sharp, including controlled medications, over the counter medicine or anything you have laying around the house, you can get rid of in a safe way.”

The MEDSAFE drop boxes resemble some mailboxes, she said. The double-locked steel collection box is fastened to the floor, has a sterilized removable liner and a one-way drop door. This provides a safe location to deposit unwanted medication, which in turn, keeps drugs out of the wrong hands and the environment safer.

“We empty the box here at the main pharmacy about every two weeks and the satellite pharmacy weekly,” Griffin said. “Then send it off to MEDSAFE and they destroy it.”

The MEDSAFE disposal box located in the clinic is available from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and the one at the satellite pharmacy is available during exchange hours, including weekends.

For more information about proper disposal of unused or outdated medication, please call the Peterson Air Force Base pharmacy at 719-556-1165.
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