Last Saturday, a record number of community members drove through and dropped off unused medications at our county-wide collection event! Even better, we set a new record for the amount of unused medications that were collected…1,880 pounds! Since the program was introduced eight years ago, community members have safely disposed of 18,383 pounds of unused, expired and unwanted over-the-counter and prescription medications free of charge— safely and securely.
Why does this program matter?
Although most people take prescription medication responsibly under a doctor’s care, there has been a rise in non-medical use of prescription and over the counter drugs. Most Cortland County youth (ages 12-25) that abuse or misuse prescription drugs get them at home, or from friends and family.* Non-medical use of prescription drugs can lead to addiction or even be lethal. Commonly misused prescriptions medications include those that are intended to relieve pain, anxiety, and sleep disorders.
Preventing prescription drug misuse is easy. Follow the three easy steps listed below:
- Lock your medicine cabinet- Prevent others from using your medications by securing it in a place children and others cannot access.
- Take inventory-Routinely take inventory of the type and amount of medications you currently have and check regularly to ensure that nothing is missing.
- Proper disposal- Dispose of medications at a community drop box site or disposal event.
We are pleased to have officers from the Cortland County Sheriff’s Office assist with each drive-through collection event, transport the medications to the Oswego County Energy Recover Facility, and witness their safe destruction in the incinerator at that facility. Cortland County District Attorney Patrick Perfetti is a strong supporter of the medication collection and disposal program and his office provides financial support to help cover the incineration costs through the Asset Forfeiture Program. These funds are derived through the seizure and forfeiture of assets that represent the proceeds of, or were used to facilitate a crime.
In 2014, we introduced year-round drop boxes which are located at the County Sheriff’s Office, Cortland Police Department, Village of Homer Police Department and the SUNY Cortland Police Department providing secure locations for the medication collection kiosks that are available to the public seven days a week.
The model for our medication collection and disposal program is well suited to our predominantly rural county. By offering medication collection events in both city and rural communities, we provide easy access to the program for all residents. The “drive through” model makes it fast and easy for residents to drop off their unused medications. By adding the year-round collection kiosks, we made the service available 24/7 offering residents the chance to immediately dispose of unused medications so they are not accessible in the home.
The drive-through collection events would not be possible without the many volunteers who help, including local pharmacists and members of the Cortland County Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). The medication collection events and kiosks are an ongoing project of the CACTC Coalition with Cortland Prevention Resources (CPR) serving as lead agency for the project. Cortland Prevention Resources is a division of Family Counseling Services (FCS).
SAVE THE DATE! The next collection event is scheduled for September 29.
*Cortland County Youth Development Survey/Young Adult Survey