Yorktown, NY - Nearly three-fourths of all drug overdose deaths in the United States are now caused by opioids - that includes common prescription painkillers found in the home as well as heroin and potent synthetic versions like fentanyl.
To combat the increasing prevalence of opioid abuse, Senator Terrence Murphy implemented a district-wide "Shed the Meds" program. Now in its fourth year, Shed the Meds has proven to be an effective solution to help residents dispose of their outdated prescription drugs and keep children, adults, and seniors safe. On July 19, Senator Murphy partnered with Assemblyman Kevin Byrne, the Town of Yorktown, the Yorktown Police Department, Drug Crisis in Our Backyard, the Alliance for Safe Kids, and Yorktown Against Heroin (YAH) to host a Shed the Meds prescription drop-off program at Jefferson Village.
"There is a war of attrition going on with dealers and drug abusers on one side and concerned, law-abiding families on the other," said Senator Murphy. "Anything we can do as to rid ourselves of potentially hazardous drugs can help turn the tide and protect those we love. In the past four years, we have taken back 10,000 pounds of medications. 'Shed the Meds' is an effective way to dispose of unused and unwanted prescription drugs that could otherwise wind up back in the community."
Assemblyman Kevin Byrne stated, "Senator Murphy has made this issue a top priority in Albany and has had a lot of success in passing legislation limiting the excessive writing of prescriptions for drugs. Recently, the Governor signed the Drug Take Back Act. I was proud to have been a co-sponsor of the act in the Assembly because it enhances people's ability to take their medications somewhere where they can be disposed of safely. I find it crazy that a company will take back oil, but prescription manufacturers won't take their drugs back."
"For the past five years we've been enlightening people by letting them know that aside from the threat of street drugs, there could be grave danger in what they have in their own homes. They don't know the risk they're taking by not disposing of what's stored in grandpa or grandma's medicine cabinet," said Ilan Gilbert, Yorktown Town Supervisor. "Prescription drugs should only be made available in limited qualities, and parents in particular, have to be vigilant in getting them out of the house. By bringing them here or to the drop-box at the police station you could be saving the life of a loved one."
Tom Diana, Yorktown Town Councilman and YAH founder added, "Yorktown Against Heroin is a grassroots organization whose mission statement is education, enforcement, and the hopeful elimination of the heroin and opioid epidemic that plagues not only our town but the nation. Last year we were able to restart the K-9 program with the Yorktown Police Department and purchased a drug detection K-9 that recently participated in a stop and search that led to an arrest. Coupled with other initiatives, 'Shed the Meds' and the K-9 program will help keep dangerous drugs out of the wrong hands."
"We haven't buried our heads in the sand because of the opioid crisis," said Yorktown Chief of Police Robert Noble. "We've fought back as a community. Nevertheless, we need help. It starts with communication, by talking with your kids about the dangers of drugs. We're always here if you need help, and there are organizations like the Alliance for Safe Kids, Drug Crisis in our Backyard and Yorktown Against Heroin who can provide assistance. We're all in this together to try and do what's best for Yorktown."
Susan Salomone, Executive Director and co-founder of Drug Crisis in Our Backyard stated, "Drug Crisis in our Backyard is happy to support Senator Murphy in helping people dispose of medication that is no longer needed or expired. Too often young people search their parents or grandparents medicine cabinets for unused opiates and begin their lifelong addiction."
Elizabeth Talbert, Executive Director for Alliance for Safe Kids commented, "We are grateful for opportunities like this when residents, particularly the elderly, can get rid of potentially dangerous drugs. This is a small gesture that can be a big part in winning the war against opioid addiction. It is also comforting to know that when our work is done today, there will be a drop-off box at the police station for people to discard their old and unused drugs year-round."
The dates and locations for future Shed the Meds summer programs are:
- Carmel - Tuesday, August 14 at Carmel Police Department, 60 McAlpin Avenue in Mahopac.
- Mt. Kisco - Thursday, August 16 at Fox Senior Center, 198 Carpenter Ave, Mt Kisco.
- Somers - Tuesday, August 28 at Somers Police Department, 100 Primrose Street, Route 139 Somers.
- Pawling - Thursday, August 30 at Pawling Town Hall, 160 Charles Colman Blvd., Pawling.
ALL SHED THE MEDS EVENTS ARE SCHEDULED TO RUN FROM 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.