The sixth biannual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is scheduled for Saturday with up to 50 participating drop-off locations across Long Island that will accept unused prescription medication—no questions asked.
Law enforcement officials said the goal is to empty medicine cabinets of unwanted painkillers before they’re stolen by substance abusers. Environmentalists said that the event ensures the drugs are incinerated instead of thrown in the garbage or flushed down the drain, eventually leaching into drinking and surface water supplies.
“I urge all New Yorkers to check their medicine cabinets and visit one of the many drug take back sites this Saturday to discard their unused medications and eliminate the potential dangers associated with these drugs,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
More than 2 million pounds of drugs—over 1,000 tons—have been incinerated since the Drug Enforcement Administration launched the national program two years ago. Upward of 6 million Americans abuse prescription drugs, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Locations can be found on the event website. There are about 250 drop-off locations across New York State. The drugs will then be disposed of at the Covanta Energy-from-Waste facilities.
“Dispersing oxycotin, antibiotics, and valium should be left to doctors, not to the water company,” said Adrienne Esposito, executive director, Citizens Campaign for the Environment. More information about how drug pollute the environment can be found at www.dontflushyourdrugs.net.
Those who miss the event can still anonymously drop off drugs in designated bins installed in Nassau and Suffolk county police precinct station houses.
Those who need help can call OASAS toll-free, 24-hour, 7-day a week HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY, which is staffed by trained clinicians who can answer questions, help refer individuals to treatment services and provide other vital resources to facilitate recovery. All calls are anonymous and confidential.