Medina hospital, Rosenkrans Pharmacy added to state’s drug take-back program

Posted 18 February 2018 at 9:44 pm

Press Release, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced the second group of participants in the State’s $2 million Pilot Pharmaceutical Take-Back Program.

Participants include 172 retail pharmacies, hospitals, and long-term care facilities across the state. Two-hundred and forty-six facilities are now enrolled in the program, which began in 2017.

Two sites on the list are from Orleans County, including Medina Memorial Hospital at 200 Ohio St., Medina; and Rosenkrans Pharmacy, 526 Main St., Medina.

The second-round locations enrolled in the Pilot Pharmaceutical Take Back Program will officially begin accepting waste medications in May 2018, when medication collection boxes are delivered to and installed by participating pharmacies.

“Installing medication drop boxes in community pharmacies, hospitals and long-term care facilities, increases opportunities for New Yorkers to properly and easily dispose of unwanted medications,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “The hundreds of pharmacies and facilities participating in New York’s free drug take-back program are protecting their communities and the environment.”

Under the drug take-back program, DEC will purchase medication collection boxes and pay for the disposal of waste pharmaceuticals collected by participating facilities for two years. Implementation of this pilot program will help improve water quality, protect public health by removing medications from home medicine cabinets, and reduce potential adverse impacts to fish and aquatic organisms. The Pharmaceutical Take-Back Program complements Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s ongoing efforts to combat opioid addition by removing unused and expired pharmaceuticals from the waste stream.

In addition, in his veto of Senate Bill Number 6750, which would have required chain pharmacies to provide drug disposal options paid for by customers, Governor Cuomo directed DEC to engage with stakeholders and local governments to prepare a report on the feasibility of creating and implementing a comprehensive, statewide pharmaceutical product stewardship program. DEC will issue the report later this year.

The statewide Pilot Pharmaceutical Take-Back Program is funded with $2 million from the state’s Environmental Protection Fund. These resources will cover the full cost of purchasing U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration-compliant medication drop boxes, as well as the cost of pick up, transport, and destruction of collected waste pharmaceuticals for a two-year period. The Governor’s Proposed Executive Budget for 2018-19 includes an additional $1 million to support this pilot program.

With technological advances in analytical techniques, it is now possible to detect low levels of drugs in surface water and groundwater. Some drugs pass largely unaltered through wastewater treatment plants and enter rivers and other waterways.

Flushed medications have been found in New York lakes, rivers, and streams and can negatively affect the waterways. A national study conducted in 1999 and 2000, by the U.S. Geological Survey found low levels of drugs such as antibiotics, hormones, contraceptives, and steroids in 80 percent of rivers and streams tested. Medications adversely affect fish and other aquatic wildlife and increase the development of drug-resistant bacteria.

In addition, there are concerns about unused pharmaceuticals getting into the wrong hands. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one U.S. citizen dies every 16 minutes from a drug overdose and has declared this public health threat an epidemic.

The pilot program is open and is accepting applications. Retail pharmacies, hospitals, and long-term care facilities are encouraged to enroll online at the Pilot Pharmaceutical Take-Back Program web page on DEC’s website (click here) or by (clicking here).

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