In partnership with the Group for the East End and seven local police departments, the East End Medication Disposal Program collected 2,102 pounds of substances in 2018, for a total of 8,000 pounds collected since the program began in October of 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.
In Sag Harbor, a total of 90 pounds of medication were collected at the Sag Harbor Village Police Department headquarters on Division Street.
A separate program by the Riverhead Community Coalition for Safe and Drug-Free Youth partnered with Riverhead Police Department to collect 1,440 pounds in 2018. The coalition has collected 5,884 pounds of medication since installing the Medication Drop Box in August 2014.
Studies have found that when medication is flushed down the toilet it can contaminate drinking water, bays and harbors. Disposing of medication properly also reduces incidences of drug misuse, abuse and accidental overdoses.
“The volume of medications collected in the 2018 program demonstrate both the significance of pharmaceutical products as a potential source of groundwater pollution, and the growing public interest in keeping these products out of the waste stream for public safety and environmental reasons,” said Group for the East End president Bob DeLuca. “We are very proud of all our local community members who have taken the time to properly dispose of their unused or expired pharmaceuticals, to help protect our environment and public safety, and we look forward to continuing growth in this program in the years ahead.”
The East End Medication Disposal Program is anonymous. Once medication is disposed of, police department officials transports it to the Covanta Incinerator in East Northport, which offers disposal free of charge.