October 27, 2017
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Medication Disposal Events Across the State as Part of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Governor Cuomo Announces Medication Disposal Events Across the State as Part of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

More Than 280 Locations Statewide Accepting Unused Prescription Drugs

Drug Disposal at Participating Locations is Free and Anonymous

Pharmacies, Hospitals and Long-Term Care Facilities Encouraged to Sign Up for Department of Environmental Conservation's Pilot Pharmaceutical Take-Back Program

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced state agencies are partnering with the Drug Enforcement Administration and local law enforcement to participate in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 28, 2017. New Yorkers can find a convenient place to dispose of their medications at one of 282 participating locations across the state, which can be found online using the online collection site locator tool.

"This state is committed to protecting residents from substance misuse and abuse, and with this partnership, we are providing opportunities for New Yorkers to get rid of old medicine in order to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands," Governor Cuomo said. "I encourage everyone to find their nearest drop location, dispose of old medication, and join our efforts to keep New York communities safe."

"National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is one way that we can save accidental addicts from having access to drugs that are no longer needed for medical reasons," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, co-chair of the Governor's task force to combat heroin and opioid addiction. "By taking part in this program, New York is providing people with one more way to help protect our loved ones from falling into the deadly trap caused by the misuse of prescription drugs."

Saturday's event marks the 14th time in seven years that New York has participated in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Last April, Americans turned in 450 tons of prescription drugs at almost 5,500 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,200 of its state and local law enforcement partners. In the 13 previous national Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 4,050 tons of pills. Last year alone, the DEA's New York Division collected over 18.8 tons of discarded prescription drugs from designated collection sites.

Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines - flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash - pose potential safety, health and environmental hazards.

Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. The DEA cannot accept liquids or needles or sharps, only pills or patches. The service is free and anonymous, and no questions are asked.

In addition to the law enforcement sites available to the public, 333 facilities across the state will also be participating in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. The facilities will be disposing of their own unused and expired medications to further efforts to help reduce the potential of diversion of dangerous controlled substances in institutional settings such as long-term care facilities and nursing homes.

For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, go to the DEA Diversion website.

DEC Pilot Pharmaceutical Take-Back Program

To complement National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is continuing to encourage pharmacies, long-term care facilities, and hospitals to participate in the state's Pilot Pharmaceutical Take-Back Program. Under the pilot program, DEC will purchase medication collection boxes and pay for the disposal of waste pharmaceuticals collected by participating facilities for two years. Implementation of this pilot program will help to improve water quality, reduce potential adverse impacts to fish and aquatic organisms, and reduce potential public health and safety risks.

The statewide Pilot Pharmaceutical Take-Back Program is funded through the Environmental Protection Fund. Resources from the fund will be used to cover the full cost of purchasing U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration compliant medication drop boxes, as well as the cost of picking up, transporting, and destroying collected waste pharmaceuticals for the two-year period. The pilot program is currently accepting applications. Retail pharmacies, hospitals, and long-term care facilities are encouraged to enroll online at the Pilot Pharmaceutical Take-Back Program web page on DEC's website at www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/108213.html.

"National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is an opportunity for New Yorkers to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous, expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs," said New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. "Preventing diversion, misuse and abuse of medications is a critical public safety and public health issue, and we urge you to take part in this important initiative."

"Properly disposing of unused prescription medication is the safest way to ensure it is not misused," said Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez. "On National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, you can prevent substance use disorder before it even starts and save lives by simply cleaning out your medicine cabinet."

"Safely disposing of unwanted medications is an easy way for pharmacies, health care facilities, and the public to help protect water quality and safeguard public health and safety," said Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos. "Complementing the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day events, the State's Pilot Pharmaceutical Take-Back Program is placing medication drop boxes in community pharmacies, hospitals and long-term care facilities to increase opportunities for New Yorkers to properly and easily dispose of unwanted medications."

New Yorkers struggling with an addiction, or whose loved ones are struggling, can find help and hope by calling the state's toll-free, 24-hour, 7-day-a-week HOPELine at 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369) or by texting HOPENY (Short Code 467369).

Available addiction treatment including crisis/detox, inpatient, community residence, or outpatient care can be found using the new and improved NYS OASAS Treatment Availability Dashboard at FindAddictionTreatment.ny.gov or through the Access Treatment page on the NYS OASAS website. Visit the #CombatAddiction website at oasas.ny.gov/CombatAddiction to learn more about how you can help to #CombatAddiction in your community.

Visit www.combatheroin.ny.gov for more information on addressing heroin and prescription opioid abuse, including a Kitchen Table Tool Kit to help start the conversation about the warning signs of addiction and where to get help. For tools to use in talking to a young person about preventing alcohol or drug use, visit the State's Talk2Prevent website.


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