Operation Medicine Cabinet to Expand
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone was joined by Suffolk and Town officials to announce the expansion of a program to collect and dispose of old or unneeded prescription medications to reduce drug abuse and protect the environment.
“As part of Suffolk County’s overall substance abuse initiative, Operation Medicine Cabinet will be expanded to include senior centers within the jurisdiction of the Suffolk County Police Department,” stated County Executive Bellone. “With the expansion of the program we are providing more opportunities for Suffolk residents to shed the meds.”
The Police Department’s seven precincts already maintain receptacles where residents can anonymously drop off unwanted, unused or expired medications at a safe and secure location 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The medications are then safely disposed of off-site. To date, the seven police precincts have collected 14,000 pounds of medications, which in turn keeps these medications out of the hands of those who could harm themselves and out of our waterways.
“This program is an innovative example of how Suffolk County is working hard to protect our drinking water and surface waters from contamination threats posed by the improper disposal of items in our medicine cabinet,” Bellone said. “It is also a great way to reduce drug abuse by taking these prescriptions out of circulation when they are no longer needed for legitimate purposes.”
Both local and nationwide studies have found evidence of medications, pharmaceuticals and personal care products in our waterways, as well as our groundwater, with potentially serious impacts to ecological and human health.
Suffolk County Police Commissioner Edward Webber said the drugs are disposed of in an environmentally safe manner and said their removal would help remove the temptation to misuse drugs.
“This is an incredibly important initiative to protect our environment, the water we drink and to keep dangerous prescription drugs out of the hands of our young people,” said Suffolk County Legislator Steven Stern. “There is such tremendous support for Operation Medicine Cabinet that after we hosted the last event, we were able to fill up two large bins of unwanted or unused medication. The success of the program relies on you and your neighbors to participate.”
“While we all understand that for safety and groundwater protection reasons, it is important that we dispose of unneeded and outdated medications properly, it can be inconvenient to make a special trip to the disposal bin at the local police precincts,” said Huntington Supervisor Frank P. Petrone. “This new program will make it easier for seniors by bringing the disposal bins to where they are and not take them out of their regular routine.”
Town Councilwomen Susan Berland and Tracey Edwards also spoke about the value of the program and encouraged seniors to check their cabinets to remove old or unneeded prescription or over-the-counter drugs.
The program will continue to expand to senior centers around the county on the first Wednesday of every month from 10-1 p.m. with a police officer present at these centers:
Huntington Sr. Nutrition Program – 423 Park Avenue, Room 105, Huntington
Babylon: North Amityville Sr. Center– 48-C Cedar Road, Amityville
Islip: Joyce Fitzpatrick Center– 50 Irish Lane, East Islip
Brookhaven: 39 Montauk Highway, Blue Point
Brookhaven: Rose Caracappa Sr. Center – 739 Route 25A, Mt. Sinai
Brookhaven: Brookhaven Mastic Community Center – 15 Herkimer Street, Mastic
The program begins April 2nd at all senior centers listed.
Photo above: Huntington Town Board members Tracey Edwards and Susan Berland, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Suffolk Legislator Steven Stern, Police Commissioner Edward Webber and Det. Lt. Bob Donohue at the Huntington senior center Thursday.