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CCE PRESS CENTER

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release:
Monday, April 20, 2015
For more information contact:
Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, 516-390-7150, 631-384-1378 (mobile), aesposito@citizenscampaign.org

IN HONOR OF EARTH WEEK CITIZENS CAMPAIGN FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND RIVERKEEPER LAUNCH LARGEST SAFE DISPOSAL OF PHARMACEUTICAL DRUG PROGRAM IN NY

Program Includes 12 Pharmaceutical Drop Boxes, Expansion of King Kullen Program for 11 Pharmacies Across Long Island, Over 30 Municipal Take Back Events, and Comprehensive Public Education Effort

Farmingdale, NY— CCE and Riverkeeper are working with municipalities throughout NY to implement the largest safe disposal of pharmaceutical drugs effort in the state. Pharmaceutical drugs have been identified as an emerging contaminant in our drinking and surface waters. For too long flushing was identified as the correct way to safely dispose of unused and expired pharmaceutical drugs. To stop the unnecessary flushing of drugs, residents and health care professionals must have viable, convenient disposal options available.


This program expands pharmaceutical drop boxes in local police departments, adding 12 drop boxes throughout NY, 7 located on Long Island. Over 30 municipal take back events will be held on Long Island and Westchester. These events will target senior centers, nursing homes, senior fairs, and assisted living facilities. The program will also expand drug take back in the 11 King Kullen pharmacies throughout Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The expansion will provide DEA approved drop boxes and disposal costs for 3 years to the King Kullen pharmacies. These boxes will be able to accept narcotics once state regulations, anticipated in summer of 2015, are approved. CCE and Riverkeeper will work collaboratively with all the partners to ensure a comprehensive coordinated public education campaign to ensure each event is successful.


“The need for safe disposal options is growing therefore; we have brought together government, non profits, police precincts and private companies to all work together so we can safely and effectively address this need. I look forward to the day when pharmaceutical companies take responsibility for prescription drug disposal, but until then we cannot have our home faucets dispensing prescription drugs,” said Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment.


"New York's waterways face enough risks without unneeded pharmaceuticals being flushed into them. We've got to make safe disposal of such products the rule, not the exception. The program being announced today is a great way to move us towards truly sustainable practice in this area, and so Riverkeeper is proud to be a part of it," stated Paul Gallay, President and Hudson Riverkeeper.


The massive expansion of the safe disposal of pharmaceutical drugs comes as the federal government has stopped their nationwide twice year drug disposal program. Local municipalities depended on these programs to help residents and nursing homes safely dispose of unused and expired pharmaceuticals.


“The Town of North Hempstead enthusiastically supports safe disposal events like the one coordinated today by Citizens Campaign for the Environment. The Town offers numerous opportunities for our residents to dispose of used and expired pharmaceuticals SAFELY at our Stop Throwing Out Pollutants (STOP) events held throughout the year. Anything we can do to lessen the threat of drug abuse through access to dangerous and addictive prescription drugs in our medicine cabinets is critical. In addition, disposing of these unused pharmaceuticals by flushing them into our sewage system contaminates our groundwater, rivers, estuaries, lakes, and bays. We must educate citizens and strongly urge every household to be more thoughtful when disposing of drugs,” stated Judi Bosworth, Town of North Hempstead Supervisor.


"Safe disposal of pharmaceuticals is a win for the environment and a win for public safety. These programs will protect drinking and surface water and not allow unused medications to get into the wrong hands. Suffolk County is happy to be a part of the solution," stated Suffolk County Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory.


“A consumer base that is largely unaware of the problems that can be caused by inappropriately discarded pharmaceuticals has prompted this regional response to an increasing threat to our precious aquifer system,” said Suffolk County Water Authority Chairman James F. Gaughran. “The Suffolk County Water Authority is proud to partner with CCE, United Water and King Kullen in developing an effective solution to this issue.”

Richard Henning, United Water’s vice president for communications, stated, “Long Islanders know better than most that the environment is fragile and we need to go the extra mile to protect and strengthen our ecology. This milestone reflects the individual commitment of residents to identify a problem they can personally solve and we need to build on the success of this effort.”

Albert W. Hesse Jr., RPH, King Kullen’s Director of Pharmacy explained, “There is a potent and toxic mix of drugs being tossed away every day by consumers and it is creating a genuine threat to our eco system and those who inhabit it. The fact that so many people have heard our message and come to our stores to dispose of their unused or outdated medications is a strong sign that people understand their role in protecting our island.”

Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano congratulated the coalition formed to confront this issue. “I applaud the efforts of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, King Kullen and United Water for continuing to help protect our waterways by giving our residents another avenue in which to dispose of their unwanted, unused and expired medications,” said Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano. “It is imperative that we get these unwanted medications out of medicine cabinets and into disposal bins rather than our bays, landfills and estuaries. From the safety of our children and families to the betterment of our environment, this initiative is a win-win for all and is a great supplement to our Nassau County Prescription Drug Disposal Bins, which are located at our Nassau County Police Precincts and Policing Centers since February of 2012.”

“There is a genuine need throughout the Brookhaven community for safe disposal of unwanted prescription drugs. These prescription drug drop boxes will allow people a convenient, safe location to get rid of unwanted pharmaceutical drugs so they are not lingering in homes and accumulating in medicine cabinets. The South Country Ambulance Company is thrilled to be able to participate in this program to serve our community. We are thankful to be able to obtain these two boxes for free and look forward to advancing this program,” said Chief Gregory C. Miglino Jr., South Country Ambulance.

"There is a serious drug epidemic not only in Nassau County, but throughout the entire country. Each and every anti-drug program, including Safe Disposal that can be conducted helps to curtail this horrific epidemic. We are proactive in our Village of Lynbrook, with the Leadership of our Mayor William Hendrick, we have been holding Town Hall meetings on this very issue, in addition to holding drug prevention seminars, in order to educate, and prevent the use of drugs in our community," stated Joseph Neve, Chief of Police, Lynbrook Police Department.

“The Village of Floral Park Police Department is delighted to join with the Citizen's Campaign for the Environment, to "Stop Flushing Drugs" and help prevent the contamination of our drinking water as well as saving lives through the removal of unused prescription drugs that could end in drug abuse and overdose,” stated Stephen G. McAllister, Police Commissioner, Floral Park Police Department.

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Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE) empowers communities and advocates solutions for our shared environment and public health and is supported by over 80,000 members throughout New York State and Connecticut. www.citizenscampaign.org

updated by amcclelland  4/20/15