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On Saturday, April 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office, community partners and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public its 13th opportunity in 7 years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
Medications, such as pills or patches, for disposal may be brought to any of the following locations: Chautauqua Mall (318 E Fairmount Ave, Lakewood, NY 14750 – JC Penney Parking Lot), Southside Pharmacy (766 Foote Ave, Jamestown, NY 14701), Westfield Family Physicians (138 E Main St, Westfield, NY 14787), or Alstar Ambulance in Dunkirk (738 Monroe St, Dunkirk, NY 14048). The DEA cannot accept liquids or needles (sharps).
This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards. Eileen Goodling, who co-chairs the Adult Education Committee for the HOPE Chautauqua coalition, stated, “We are very aware in Chautauqua County that a majority of abused prescription drugs – opioids and other potentially harmful medications – are obtained from the homes of family and friends. Responsible disposal of unwanted medications is a simple but very important act in our regional fight against drug abuse.”
To complement this event, HOPE Chautauqua’s ongoing Take It To The Box campaign is aimed at bringing awareness to the permanent disposal drop boxes in the county and three very important actions that can be taken today to prevent the misuse of and addiction to prescription drugs and heroin. Those three things are Safe Use, Safe Storage and Safe Disposal of medications. “These very important efforts are geared toward protecting Chautauqua County families and communities. The progression from misuse of prescription pain killers to heroin is a very real concern,” said HOPE Chautauqua Coalition Coordinator, Julie Franco. For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about the April 29 Take Back Day event, go to the DEA Diversion website https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/index.html.
You also can find HOPE Chautauqua on Facebook www.facebook.com/hopechautauqua or contact CASAC at 664-3608. HOPE Chautauqua is a community substance abuse prevention coalition and an initiative of Chautauqua Alcohol & Substance Abuse Council (CASAC). Since 1974, CASAC has provided prevention education and community awareness regarding the prevention of alcohol and other drug abuse.