Drug Drop Off event aims to help environment, prevent abuse

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) – Erie County’s Department of Health and Department of Environmental Planning are teaming up with area agencies Tuesday to help local residents get rid of their unwanted or expired medications and syringes.

A drive-through Drug Drop Off is being offered at the Erie County Fire Training Academy, 3359 Broadway, Cheektowaga, through 5 p.m. Tuesday. A region wide Drop Off event with several drop off sites will be offered at the end of April.

Since the Drug Drop Off program started in Erie County about seven years ago, more than a hundred tons of medications and syringes have been safely destroyed.

Local residents and health care professionals are invited to drop off everything from vitamins to Vicodin, and even veterinary medications. Everything that’s collected is placed in a barrel and hauled away to be incinerated properly – no questions asked.

MORE: Region wide Drug Drop Off to be held April 30.

MORE: Some sites accept used needles and expired drugs year-round.

Properly disposing of the medications and syringes prevents them from getting into the wrong people’s hands, and it also protects the environment.

When medications end up in landfills, often the chemicals leak out and end up in the water, hurting the wildlife. “Small fish, small amphibians, they live in it, they get more exposure and they have less mass and it can cause a lot of harm,” said Frank Scarpinato, an Environmental Specialist with the Erie County Department of Environmental Planning. “We’re seeing gentrification of some fish, where they’re turning from male to female.”

On top of that, Scarpinato explains, there is the issue of people turning to the medicine cabinet to get drugs to abuse. “We’re facing a huge epidemic right now with heroin, and a lot of people of people start on the route to heroine with the use of illicitly obtained opiates,” he said. “Get it out. Get it out today. Don’t wait.”

Erie County residents are able to drop off their medications and syringes at a number of permanent collection sites all year long.

Those looking to dispose of their medications at a Drug Drop Off event will have another opportunity to do so on Saturday, April 30, 2016 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the following locations in Erie County:

  • Bertrand Chafee Hospital, 224 E. Main Street, Springville
  • Buffalo State College, 1300 Elmwood Avenue, Lot “R4”, Buffalo
  • North Collins Police Department, 10543 Main Street, North Collins
  • Grand Island Town Hall, 2255 Baseline Road, Grand Island
  • Kenmore Mercy Hospital, 2950 Elmwood Avenue, Kenmore
  • DeGraff Memorial Hospital, 445 Tremont Street, North Tonawanda
  • Mercy Ambulatory Care Center, 3669 Southwestern Blvd, Orchard Park
  • Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, 1540 Maple Road, Williamsville
  • Evans Municipal Center, 8787 Erie Road, Evans
  • Sisters of Charity, Saint Joseph Campus, 2605 Harlem Road, Cheektowaga
  • Town of Hamburg Dept. of Youth, Recreation and Senior Center, 4540 Southwestern Blvd, Hamburg
  • West Seneca Senior Center, 4620 Seneca Street, West Seneca

Several other locations around Western New York will also be accepting dropped off medications that day.

Western New Yorkers are invited to bring any unwanted or expired prescription or over-the counter medications, syringes, inhalers, liquids, ointments, patches, and more. No Mercury-containing or radioactive products will be accepted.

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