Empowering Communities, Advocating Solutions



For immediate release:
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
For more information contact:
Adrienne Esposito, CCE, Executive Director, 516-390-7150, 631-384-1378 (mobile), aesposito@citizenscampaign.org
Al Hesse, King Kullen, Director of Pharmacy, 516-903-8393
Mike Martino, Suez, Manager, Communications & Community Affairs, 516-238-2292, michael.martino@suez.com


King Kullen Safe Disposal Program Most Successful Pharmacy Take-Back Program in NY King Kullen Announces Program Expansion - First DEA approved Supermarket Pharmacies to Collect Narcotics

Farmingdale, NY — In one year King Kullen collected over 1 ton, or 2,000 pounds, of unused and expired medications. This is unprecedented for a supermarket pharmacy take-back program. On Wednesday, February 3rd, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Suez/United Water, Suffolk County Water Authority, and King Kullen, all partners in this successful collaboration joined together to announce these collection results, announce the critical expansion of the program to include narcotics and promote next steps for 2016.

“One ton of drugs properly disposed in one year is an amazing accomplishment. The results demonstrate the need for free, convenient safe disposal options. The success is also attributed to environmentalists, businesses, and water companies working together to achieve the common goal of water protection,” stated Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, “We need only pharmacists and doctors to dispense medication, not our kitchen sink.”

In 2016 King Kullen is expanding the program to collect narcotic drugs. King Kullen is the first supermarket pharmacy on Long Island to be a certified collector by the Federal DEA. This program was funded for 3 years by a state grant that provided DEA approved, tamper-proof collection boxes and tracking and monitoring of all disposal for the 11 King Kullen pharmacies on Long Island. This program is free to the public. King Kullen has improved their program to ensure strict safety measures are in place and the program is in full compliance with all applicable laws, allowing them to accept controlled substances at their pharmacies.

Albert W. Hesse Jr., RPH, King Kullen’s Director of Pharmacy, stated, “Expanding the program to all drugs is critical to providing a one stop for safe disposal for all our customers. This critical expansion will only continue to build upon the success of the program. We are gratified that people have heard our message and come to our stores to dispose of their unused or outdated medications. It is a strong signal that these types of programs are needed. People understand their role in protecting our waters and getting unused medications out of the home.”

Studies have shown that pharmaceutical pollution negatively impacts aquatic life, and raises concerns about potential impacts on human health. Unused medications lingering in homes create public health and safety concerns due to the potential for drugs to be stolen, misused, and abused. The public’s tremendous response to the drug take-back program demonstrates the importance of finding ways to prevent drug abuse and prevent contamination of our waters. SUEZ, SCWA and Citizens Campaign for the Environment provide financial support, marketing and public education programs to bring this important issue to the general population’s attention and provide a simple solution to disposal concerns.

“We have great drinking water and we want to keep it that way,” said Patrick G. Halpin, Secretary, Suffolk County Water Authority Board. “We constantly test our water to make sure it’s safe. But we recognize that the indiscriminate disposal of pharmaceuticals has the potential to become a very serious threat to our water supply. And that is why we are proud to support this proactive program to dispose of pharmaceuticals properly.”

Michael Martino, SUEZ’s Manager, Communications & Community Affairs, 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.”


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 jchristensen  2/2/16