Wampsville (WSYR-TV) - In an effort to combat the exploding problem of prescription drug abuse, you will have the chance Saturday to get rid of unused and expired medications.
Several communities around the area will take part in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back effort. But there’s another way of targeting the problem that's catching on in one county and may be coming to others.
It's not one of the things you'd typically expect to find at the DMV, but that's where Madison County houses its drug disposal kiosk. It's available regular business hours, so it gives people a chance to unload prescription drugs almost anytime, rather than waiting for twice a year collection events.
Sarah Howell, a Community Organization Specialist with the organization BRiDGES
, said, “People are wanting to get rid of those drugs and they also don't want to flush them down the toilet because it does a lot of damage to the environment, to our water stream."
They've collected 350 pounds of old medications in just under six months.
Abby Simchik, a Prevention Education Specialist with BRiDGES, said, “We're very pleased at the moment, coming in with 20 or 30 pounds a week. We're collecting, I think, much more than we had anticipated."
A typical collection event brings in about 300 pounds, and that's people usually saving up for several months, so the kiosk just gets more of the old drugs out of circulation sooner and potentially out of the hands of anyone looking to abuse them.
Howell said, “It's a really good idea to count your pills and know how many you've taken and how many you should have left, if you have teenagers in the house or you have their friends coming in, so you know when your pills are missing or not.”
They say the kiosk has been a proven effective disposal method.
Madison County is considering its second kiosk. The city of Utica has just installed one in the lobby of the police station and drop boxes will be placed at nine state police troop headquarters.
You can get rid of pills, liquids, vials, inhalers, powders, epi-pens, sprays and gels or ointments, but no syringes.If you'd like to find a take back event Saturday near you, click here.