Drop-off Program at St. Joseph Campus Provides Drug Disposal Alternative

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March 2, 2010

In response to recent news reports about the detection of prescription drugs in drinking water, Sisters of Charity Hospital, St. Joseph Campus, in conjunction with Catholic Health Go Green and Erie County, is hosting a Drive-through Community Pharmaceutical Drop-Off program for unused household medications on Saturday, April 10, 2010 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Area residents are encouraged to bring their expired, unused, or unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications to the hospital, located at 2605 Harlem Road in Cheektowaga, for proper disposal. Participants should drive to the front of the hospital near the Caritas Building where their materials will be processed by Catholic Health System Pharmacy staff, University of Buffalo School of Pharmacy interns and pharmacists from the Western New York Society of Health System Pharmacists. All unwanted medications will be disposed of at Covanta Energy’s incineration facilities in Niagara Falls.

“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 Catholic Health pharmacist. “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A range of health concerns can arise from keeping outdated or unused prescription drugs in the medicine cabinet or disposing of them improperly, such as flushing them down the toilet.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.

St. Joseph Campus is partnering with Erie County, University of Buffalo School of Pharmacy, Kids Escaping Drugs, the Town of Cheektowaga Police Department, Western New York Poison Control and Covanta Energy to make this program possible.

To learn more about proper disposal of medications, log on to the NYSDEC website or call 716-858-6800, option 3.