PLATTSBURGH — Residents are safely disposing of unwanted medications in a new drug drop box at the Plattsburgh City Police Department.
The box made its debut this summer in the lobby of police headquarters at 45 Pine St. and has been much used.
“We are averaging about 10 pounds (of medication) a week,” Lt. Pat Rascoe said.
The department is the first in the area to have a permanent drug drop box where anyone can safely dispose of expired, unused or unwanted prescription drugs, according to a press release.
“It’s very easy. You open the slot and you drop the stuff in there. You’re in and out the door. No questions asked,” Chief Desmond Racicot said.
There are certain legal requirements a department must comply with in order to have a box located on the premises.
Plattsburgh police signed the New York State Medication Drop Box Program Statement of Agreement in compliance with requests from the New York State Department of Health to ensure the box would be located within a law-enforcement agency where it can be monitored at all times.
“It’s only meant for the public,” Racicot added.
He said pharmacies, veterinarians or anyone other than members of a private household are forbidden to leave anything in the box.
All collected medications are destroyed at a municipal solid-waste combustion facility that has been approved by the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation.
The department must report the total volume destroyed to the DEC after destruction is complete, the release said.
Racicot said it is important that medication is disposed of properly.
It should never be flushed down toilets where it could contaminate water systems, and it should always be removed from medicine cabinets where it could end up in the wrong hands, he said.
“When you look at the people abusing pills you will see about 70 percent of them get (them) from friends or family,” Racicot added. “They are going into the medicine cabinet and taking it. We even see burglars breaking into homes and stealing pills.”
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