September 2, 2009
Kenmore Mercy Hospital, in conjunction with Catholic Health Go Green and Erie County, is hosting a Community Pharmaceutical Drop-Off program for unused household medications on Saturday, September 19 from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Area residents are encouraged to bring their expired, unused, or unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications to the hospital.
Participants should enter from Military Road to the rear of the hospital where their materials will be safely disposed of by Kenmore Mercy’s Pharmacy staff, University of Buffalo School of Pharmacy interns and Covanta Energy.
Recent news reports about the detection of prescription drugs in drinking water have caused concern about the nation’s water supply and its impact on human health. Storing expired or unwanted medications in the home also increases the risk of accidental poisoning and teen drug use.
“We want to prevent unused portions of prescription medications from ending up in garbage dumps, polluting the water, or ending up in the hands of our children,” said Frank Heinrich, a pharmacist at Kenmore Mercy Hospital. “We also want to teach people how to properly dispose of their unused medications.”
A range of health concerns can arise from keeping outdated or unused prescription drugs in the medicine cabinet or disposing of them improperly, such as flushing them down the toilet. This includes street-level profiteering, abuse, unintentional overdoses and ecological contamination.
Scientists with the U.S. Geological Society conducted a study of over 130 of our nation’s rivers, streams, and other waterways, and found traces of pharmaceuticals in over 80 percent of them.
“Through this program, we will be able to take unused prescription medications out of area households and dispose of them in the most environmentally-friendly way possible, protecting our community and the environment,” Heinrich added.
Kenmore Mercy is partnering with Erie County, University of Buffalo School of Pharmacy, Kids Escaping Drugs, the Town of Tonawanda Police Department, and Covanta Energy to make this program possible.
To learn more about proper disposal of medications, log on to the NYSDEC website at www.dontflushyourdrugs.net.