Drug Take Back Day Planned For Next Month

Prescription drugs can be hard to get rid of, but Hope Chautauqua wants to help with that.

In an effort to help community members dispose of prescription medication in a safe, easy way, Hope Chautauqua is promoting National Drug Take Back Day which is slated for Saturday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Only prescription drugs will be taken; liquids and needles will not be taken.

Hope Chautauqua is a community-based organization that promotes substance abuse prevention.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 6.4 million Americans abuse controlled prescription drugs.

Many of these prescriptions were from a family member or a friend’s medicine cabinet. Drug Take Back Day is put on each year by the DEA.

In October 2017, 912,305 pounds — or 456 tons — of prescription drugs were collected.

Kelley Potter, Hope Chautauqua coalition coordinator, said the collection is free, anonymous and there will be no questions asked. There will be four collection sites throughout the county through the group: Chautauqua Mall at the JC Penney parking lot in Lakewood; Southside Pharmacy at 766 Foote Ave. in Jamestown; Westfield Family Physician’s at 138 E. Main St. in Westfield; and ALSTAR Ambulance at 738 Monroe St. in Dunkirk.

“Currently, our nation is in an epidemic of opioids,” Potter said. “The death rate is very high.”

Potter said the national collection day allows community members to safely dispose of medications they might have in their medicine cabinets. She said this is important because it keeps it out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them.

Potter said it also keeps residents from flushing the medications down the toilet, which can be harmful for the soil and water.

However, proper disposal of prescriptions isn’t only relegated to one day with Hope Chautauqua. Potter said there is a current campaign under way called “Take It To The Box.” There are boxes at a few key locations where prescriptions can be brought and safely disposed. The boxes are located at the Fredonia Police Department; the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office in Mayville; the Westfield Police Department; the Jamestown Police Department; and the Silver Creek Court Clerk’s Office. The Silver Creek site is only available on Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The other sites are available every day.

Another program to help community members dispose of prescriptions is the Deterra bags program. Potter said there are a few pilot programs happening the community where staff members have been trained on the use of safe disposal bags, such as at Hospice of Chautauqua County, thanks to a grant.

With the Deterra bag, medication is “deactivated” once placed in the bag with water. This method is environmentally safe and convenient, she said, because residents can also use them in their homes.

Potter said the bags can be picked up at the Jamestown or Dunkirk CASAC offices for free. A brief survey must be filled out, but she said it is anonymous and quick.

CASAC is located at 501 W. Third St. in Suites 3 and 4 in the Sprinchorn Building in Jamestown and 51 E. Third St., Suite 2 in Dunkirk. For more information, visit casacweb.org or hopechautauqua.org, or email info@casacweb.org.