Help take surplus medications out of circulation on Staten Island
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. - Heading to the police stationhouse to drop off those unwanted prescription medications may take a few minutes out of your day, but that time spent may well end up saving a life.
On Saturday, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration will sponsor a National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, its sixth so far, in hopes that people on Staten Island and across the country will properly dispose of unwanted medications before they might fall into the wrong hands.
"If we can keep the 10-year-olds or the 12-year-olds or the 14-year-olds from trying it for the first time ... the opportunity would be huge," said Brian R. Crowell, the special agent in charge of the DEA's New York division.
"It's just another opportunity to get the word out to the parents, to the coaches, to the teachers, to the grandparents," he said.
Authorities will be collecting unwanted medications from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at six spots across the Island -- the NYPD's 120th, 122nd and 123rd Precinct headquarters, as well as at Richmond University Medical Center in West Brighton, and both the Ocean Breeze and Prince's Bay campuses of Staten Island University Hospital.
Officials don't recommend Islanders toss their unwanted pills in the trash, and they warn against flushing pills, since medications can affect the region's water supply.
During the most recent take-back event, on Oct. 5 last year, the DEA collected 189.9 pounds of prescription drugs on Staten Island, a drop from the record 407-pound haul from an event last May.
Crowell said he hopes to see a jump in the numbers this Saturday, since officials also plan to collect medications at long-term health care facilities leading up to the event.
As before, the drugs will go to an undisclosed "waste-to-energy" plant in the area, Crowell said.
The Island's Tackling Youth Substance Abuse (TYSA) initiative -- a public-private partnership that launched last year and is aimed at stemming the borough's prescription drug abuse epidemic -- is also working to promote Saturday's take-back event.