Elmira, N.Y., April 22—State Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C,I-Big Flats) reminded area residents today that Saturday, April 27, 2019 is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Law enforcement agencies across the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions will operate drop-off centers to allow for the safe and responsible disposal of unused prescription drugs.
“It’s incredibly important that our local law enforcement leaders continue to participate in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Their ongoing leadership in this overall effort to combat prescription drug abuse makes all the difference,” said O’Mara, noting that the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in partnership with local police agencies coordinates the annual events across the nation.
On Saturday law enforcement agencies throughout the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions have established drop-off centers to allow people to anonymously dispose of unwanted prescription drugs between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. O’Mara said that a full listing of local collection sites being offered throughout his legislative district covering Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Tompkins and Yates counties can be found on the DEA website, https://takebackday.dea.gov/.
In 2018, O’Mara sponsored a new law, the “Drug Take Back Act” (S9100/A9576, Chapter 120 of the Laws of 2018) that established an industry-funded, statewide pharmaceutical drug take-back program. It advanced a “product stewardship” approach to the challenge of disposing of unwanted medications. Pharmaceutical manufacturers are responsible for all of the costs of the initiative including public education and awareness, as well as the collection, transport and proper disposal of unwanted drugs. The Act further requires chain pharmacies and mail-order pharmacies to provide consumers with on-site collection, prepaid mail-back envelopes, or other federally approved methods to encourage safe drug disposal.
O’Mara said the Act creates a unified, statewide drug take-back program that will save government and taxpayer dollars, and reduce medication misuse.
“The abuse of prescription drugs is directly tied to and in many ways responsible for the burgeoning heroin and opioid epidemic. It’s incredibly important to do anything and everything we can to complement and support the efforts of our local law enforcement leaders to combat prescription drug abuse. These efforts include National Prescription Drug Take Back Day and other initiatives to encourage the collection and disposal of unused prescription drugs,” said O’Mara.
The federal Centers for Disease Control has identified the abuse of prescription medicine as one of the nation’s fastest-growing drug problems with nearly 15,000 people dying every year of overdoses due to prescription painkillers. Moreover, an estimated 70 percent of people who abuse prescription painkillers obtained them from friends or relatives who originally received the medication from a prescription. The problem is of particular concern with respect to young adults and teens.