By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — Local hospitals are hosting drug drop offs on Saturday, National Drug Take Back Day.
Kenmore Mercy and DeGraff Memorial Hospital will be accepting drugs for disposal from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The hospitals will take controlled substances, expired, unusable and unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medicines.
Those who wish to drop drugs off are asked to bring them in the original container and black out the personal information on the bottle.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo released a statement Wednesday encouraging New Yorkers to take advantage of Saturday’s drop off events.
“New York has taken strong steps to combat prescription drug abuse, but we also need families and individuals to recognize the potential danger of keeping expired or unused medications in the home and away from children,” Cuomo said. “People should closely track their prescription medications and safely dispose of any drugs that are no longer needed or have passed their expiration date.”
National Drug Take Back Day is sponsored by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and 250 sites across the state will be accepting prescription drugs for disposal.
Other take back sites include Buffalo State College’s C lot, Grand Island Town Hall and Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital in Amherst.
The state Department of Health has also established a permanent medication drop off program in which boxes are placed year round at local law enforcement agencies. A local permanent drop off box is located at the Kenmore Police Station.
According to a statement from Cuomo’s office, drug overdose deaths have increased for the last 11 years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2010, over 38,000 people died from a drug overdose in the United States, and most of the those medicines were prescription drugs.
“Young people are at especially high risk of prescription drug abuse. We know that they usually get access to prescription medications at home from their medicine cabinet,” Commissioner Arlene González Sánchez of the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services said. “We urge all New Yorkers to help prevent prescription drug abuse by properly disposing of their medications before they lead to addiction or death.”Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150