By David D. Underwood Jr., Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Public Affairs
A mini health fair took place Aug. 27 at Club Pearl, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, to bring awareness to Sailors, Marines and family members on the proper use and disposal of prescription medications.
The Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions (CSADD) and Navy Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention (NADAP) hosted the event to provide information and promote the new program titled “Prescription for Discharge: Zero Tolerance. Infinite Risk.”
The Navy has a zero tolerance policy on drug and substance abuse and started testing for more drugs two years ago. With increased testing, there have been more Sailors testing positive for illegal prescription drugs, so the campaign was launched in April to curb the rising trend.
Misuse of prescription medications can be harmful to one’s health and also could be a career ender and lead to a dishonorable discharge, officials emphasized.
Culinary Specialist Chief (CSC) Edwin Ebreo, Navy Region Hawaii alcohol and drug control officer, said it is important to keep Sailors informed. He serves as the liaison between NADAP and the enlisted force.
“I send out the message from NADAP about what’s going on with prescription drugs,” said Ebreo. “”It’s not so much about abuse. It’s just not knowing what they are supposed to do, and so they don’t pop positive for a simple mistake.”
Sailors sometimes may take medications not prescribed to them, or share prescribed medications with families, friends or shipmates and may not be aware that this is illegal. This campaign is designed to educate Sailors about misuse that includes taking a drug incorrectly, for a purpose other than what the prescription states, taking someone else’s prescription, and wrongfully possessing or distributing prescribed drugs.
“We provide substance abuse prevention materials and Navy policy information,’ said Sara Sisung, marketing information specialist, Millington, Tenn. “We conduct focus groups and the feedback we get from Sailors is what makes material relevant.”
The campaign also offers points on the proper disposal of unused or expired medications. The National Take Back Day is hosted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) along with the Navy and is a twice a year event, April and October, where people can turn in unused and expired medications. The Navy Exchange is the local location for turn-ins on the designated days. The event is nationwide.
A safe way to dispose of drugs at home is to remove meds from the original container, place in a sealable bag to prevent leaking, mix with an undesirable substance like kitty litter or used coffee grounds, and throw the bag in the trash. Personal information should be scratched off from medicine labels before recycling the containers.
For more information visit www.nadap.navy .mil. In case of an emergency, call 911. For Military OneSource confidential counseling, call 800-342-9647, and for the Military Crisis Line, call 800-273-TALK (8255).