(Southold, NY… April 2018) In a partnership with Group for the East End and seven local police departments, the East End Medication Disposal Program (groupfortheeastend.org/meds) collected 1,872 pounds of substances in 2017, resulting in nearly 6,000 pounds collected since the program’s inception in October 2013. With support from Suffolk County’s Drinking Water Protection Program, the program encourages residents to dispose of unused medications safely and anonymously in a Medication Drop Box permanently located at participating police stations in an effort to keep these potential pollutants out of our drinking water.
Studies have found that when prescription and over-the-counter medications are flushed down the toilet, as was previously recommended, they can contaminate of our drinking water, as well as our bays and harbors. Another benefit of proper disposal of medications include helping to 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.
“Water quality and pollution are a growing concern across the East End, and we must take every step necessary to help protect our bays, harbors, and other waterways” said Group for the East End president Bob DeLuca. “This pharmaceutical take-back program continues to be successful, and is just one of many innovative local efforts that is breaking new ground in the protection and restoration of our fragile drinking water and surface water resources.”
The recent numbers include 1,872 pounds of substances collected. Reported numbers from the participating police stations in 2017 include 120 pounds from Sag Harbor, 160 pounds from Shelter Island, 700 pounds from Southold, 300 pounds from East Hampton Town, 220 pounds from East Hampton Village, 172 pounds from Westhampton Beach, and 200 pounds from one collection in Southampton, which has another collection from the end of 2017 waiting to be incinerated. Those remaining numbers are not yet available.
The East End Medication Disposal Program is safe and anonymous. After substances are discarded in the drop box, they are secured by the police department until an officer transports them to the Covanta Incinerator in East Northport. Covanta provides the service free of charge, as do the police departments. Group for the East End is grateful to all of the police departments that participate in this important program, and notes its necessity considering the number of pounds of substances that are collected each year to keep our bays, harbors, and drinking water safe.
More information on what medications and items can be discarded and where can be found online at groupfortheeastend.org/meds.