National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day was held on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at four designated collection points in Sullivan County. More than 6,500 unwanted pills – including over 1,000 narcotics - were accepted for disposal. The need for safe & easy disposal options for unwanted medications – prescriptions, including antibiotics and controlled substances, as well as over-the-counter medications like sleep aids and cough medicine – is obvious. Over 80% of our nation's water supply now tests positive for traces of these compounds, and according to health officials 20% of people in the United States have used prescription drugs for non-medical reasons – resulting in abuse and unfortunate health outcomes in far too many instances.
In Sullivan County, the Recovery Center, Public Health Services, municipal law enforcement agencies, area pharmacies and the Division of Public Works have all joined forces to offer periodic Rx collection programs and permanent pharmaceutical drop boxes at convenient times and locations around the county. In fact, the Town of Fallsburg Police Department is the first police agency in Sullivan County to host a permanent Rx drop box accessible 24/7 at the police station in South Fallsburg. Police Chief Simmie Williams will oversee the drop box program, including contents, transport and disposal – which will take place at the NYSDEC-permitted and DEA-approved Dutchess County incinerator in Poughkeepsie on a periodic basis. Accessible, no-questions-asked, approved pharmaceutical disposal programs can safeguard the environment and help keep drugs out of the hands of persons they were not intended for.
Hopefully, the days of flushing unwanted medications down the drain or placing pills at the curb for disposal are coming to an end. As Audubon Society members we support a healthy environment and a healthy human population. So check your medicine cabinet periodically for unwanted medications, and dispose of drugs carefully to ensure they do not enter the water supply or become an unintended consumption statistic.
For more information about the Sullivan County Rx Drop Box Program, please consult Sue Clark at 845-292-5910, ext. 2222 at Sullivan County Public Health Services.
– Bill Cutler