October 6, 2014 (Southold, NY) – It has been a year since Group for the East End partnered with seven East End Police Departments with support from Suffolk County’s Drinking Water Protection Program to create the East End Medication Disposal Program. The program, encourages residents to dispose of unused medicines in a Medication Drop Box permanently located at a nearby police station, in order to keep these potential pollutants out of our drinking water. Flushing prescription and over-the-counter medications down the toilet as was previously recommended, can contaminate our drinking water, as well as our bays and harbors. Proper disposal of medications also helps prevent drug misuse, abuse, and harm to children, pets, and others. By anonymously disposing of medications at local police stations, you ensure that they do not end up in the wrong hands and importantly do not end up in our environment.
To date local police stations have collected 1 ton of substances since last October! That’s nearly 2,000 pounds of potential pollutants kept out of our waterways, drinking water, and safely removed from the community.
“Protecting our bays, harbors and drinking water from unwanted prescription medications is vital to improve water quality here in Suffolk County,” said Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman. “I applaud all those that have been involved with the East End Medication Disposal Program. I’m pleased to see residents taking advantage of this great program.”
According to Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski, “the success of the East End Medication Disposal Program is the result of the community coming together, identifying the problem and coming up with practical solutions to help protect our drinking water by educating the public about the proper disposal of unused medications. Congratulations to the police departments and the environmental groups who spearheaded this effort.”
“I can tell you that the Medication Disposal Program has been very well received by all residents of Southold Town, as witnessed by the large amounts of unwanted medications that have been disposed of in the container in our lobby,” said Southold Town Chief of Police Martin Flatley. “Our department has attempted to make the drop-off box as accessible as possible to Southold Town residents to encourage this program by placing it in our Headquarters lobby and making it available to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As a result, our residents have taken advantage of this program since its inception throughout the first year at a steady rate.”
“It is critically important now more than ever to do what we can to help protect water quality. This program provides an easy opportunity for every East End resident to pitch in to help protect our drinking and surface waters,” said Jenn Hartnagel, Senior Environmental Advocate with Group for the East End. “We are thrilled that approximately 2,000 pounds of substances have been collected and destroyed and kept out of our water resources.”
This October the Drug Enforcement Administration will implement a ruling allowing pharmacies, hospitals, and other like facilities to have “take back” boxes or mail in programs to dispose of all types of pharmaceutical substances, including controlled substances. Prior to this, only law enforcement agencies were allowed to handle take back boxes or events. This program will provide further opportunities for collection down the road. For now, visit your local police station and look for the Medication Drop Box in the lobby to safely dispose of unwanted substances. All five East End Town Police Departments have Medication Disposal Boxes as well as the Village Police Departments of East Hampton, Westhampton Beach, and Sag Harbor. Please visit: https://www.groupfortheeastend.org/meds/ for hours, and details on accepted items.
Contact: Jen Skilbred