(Southold, NY… February 2017) In a partnership with Group for the East End and seven local police departments, the East End Medication Disposal Program (groupfortheeastend.org/meds) has collected 2,149 pounds of substances from 2015 – 2016. The program, which began in October 2013 with support from Suffolk County’s Drinking Water Protection Program, encourages residents to dispose of unused medications in a Medication Drop Box permanently located at participating police stations in an effort 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.
According to Group for the East End President Bob DeLuca, “water quality is our top priority across the East End, and the pharmaceutical take-back program 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 an 85% increase from 2014. Reported numbers from the participating police stations include 610 pounds from Southampton, 560 pounds from East Hampton, 70 pounds from East Hampton Village, 294 pounds from Westhampton Beach, 160 pounds from Shelter Island, and 455 pounds from Southold. Sag Harbor Village numbers are currently not available.
“We are extremely grateful for the cooperation of our local police departments and support of Suffolk County which has been essential to the success of this program and its positive impact on water quality,” Mr. DeLuca said.
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 participating in this important program,” says Group for the East End Senior Environmental Advocate and disposal program manager Jennifer Hartnagel. “The pounds of substances collected speaks volumes for the need for this type of service. Since 2013, over 4,000 pounds of substances have been kept our of our bays, harbor and drinking water.”
More information on what medications and items can be discarded and where can be found online at groupfortheeastend.org/meds.
Contact: Rachel Bosworth
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