CAPITAL REGION- A home is only as safe as its medicine cabinet. It’s not a saying that’s caught on yet. But with the national focus on prescription drug addiction, the medicine cabinet is becoming a focal point in the fight against drug addiction.
“Millions of people who use prescription drugs non-medically get them from family members or friends, often from the medicine cabinet,” said Kristin Sweeter, a grant manager of the Niskayuna Community Action Program.
The National Institute on Drug Addiction reported deaths resulting from prescription drug opioids have tripled in the past two decades.
Cleaning out an overcrowded medicine cabinet is much more than a simple chore.
The Drug Enforcement Administration began an initiative called National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day as a way to encourage people to clear out any outdated or unnecessary prescriptions and over the counter medicine. It’s a bi-annual event, with one collection day in the spring and one in the fall. This year, the fall collection date is October 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Drug prevention councils, community organizations and law enforcement agencies across the country have joined the initiative, providing drop off boxes and education on prescription drugs.
N-CAP and the Niskayuna Police Department will be participating this year at Town Hall, collecting prescription and over the counter drugs from Niskayuna residents.
There are a lot of misconceptions about how to dispose of outdated medication, according to Sweeter.
People often think that flushing medication is an effective way to dispose of them. However, disposal via the pipes in a home is not only ineffective, it may also cause damage to the water treatment system.
Putting medication in the trash isn’t the best disposal method either, as medications can be dug up and used.
“There are a variety of ways including at home removing pills from the original bottle and mixing them in a sealable bag with kitty litter, coffee grounds or other undesirable substances; then simply drop the bag in the trash,” Sweeter said.
Niskayuna Chief of Police Daniel McManus is taking the idea behind National Prescription Drug Take Back Day and expanding on it.
“Partnering with the DEA and NCAP, we routinely collected some of the largest weights in the Capital District,” McManus said.
Within the past year, the DEA reported record weights of prescriptions collected through take-back events through the country.
“Many of our residents have called in between collections looking for a more immediate solution. Early on, the State Police Troop G Headquarters in Latham was the closest site, and now the county sheriff has a box,” McManus said.
The town is looking to partner with CVS and to have a permanent drop off box.
CVS supplies the box and helps to promote it and the police department maintains it.
“With the opportunity to partner with CVS and NCAP as well, the town also sees that can help lessen the opportunity for drugs in homes to be abused, as well as the environmental impact on our water,” McManus said.
There will be a discussion about the installation of the box and the police department’s partnership with CVS at the Town Board meeting on Oct. 25.
While looking through the medicine cabinet, here are a few things to look out for:
- Check the expiration dates on all prescriptions and over the counter drugs, even things like Tylenol and cold medicine.
- If the medicine cabinet is in the bathroom, be especially mindful of expiration dates. Humidity from the shower can accelerate decomposition of pills.
- If it’s a prescription that was for a surgery and the patient is fully recovered, it’s time to dispose of it.
Drop off Sites Near You on National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day:
Saturday, Oct. 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
1583 State Route 9
Fort Edward NY
Moreau Community Center
144 Main Street
South Glens Falls
Ballston Spa Police
30 Bath Street
Clifton Park Public Safety Building
5 Municipal Plaza, Rt 146
Clifton Park-Halfmoon EMS
15 Crossing Boulevard
Mechanicville CVS Parking Lot
12 South Central Avenue
Emergency Department -Parking Lot
211 Church Street
Saratoga Springs Police
Maple Ave—Behind City Hall
Schenectady Police Department
531 Liberty Street
New York State Police Latham
760 Troy-Schenectady Road
Colonie Police Department
312 Wolf Road
Schenectady County Sheriff’s Office
130 Princetown Plaza
Town of Niskayuna
1 Niskayuna Circle
Watervliet Police Department
2- 15th Street