State Agencies Announce Medication Disposal Opportunities Across the State on National Prescription Drug Take Back Day - Saturday, April 24, 2021

Unused Prescription Drugs Can Be Discarded at More than 140 Locations Statewide

Drug Disposal at Participating Locations is Free and Anonymous

430 Pharmacies and Health Care Facilities Now Participating in DEC's Pilot Pharmaceutical Take Back Program

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 23, 2021) – The New York State Departments of Health and Environmental Conservation and the Office of Addiction Services and Supports today announced they are again partnering with the Drug Enforcement Administration and local law enforcement to participate in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, April 24, 2021 from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. New Yorkers may dispose of prescribed controlled substances and other medications, along with vaping devices and cartridges, at one of 148 participating locations across the state. Locations can be found using the online collection site locator tool, and this service is free and anonymous.

"National Prescription Drug Take Back Day provides New Yorkers with the opportunity to rid their medicine cabinets of potentially dangerous, expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs, as well as vaping products," said Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. "We urge everyone to take part in this important initiative to help prevent diversion, misuse and abuse of medications."

Saturday's event marks the 21st time that New York has participated in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. In October, the last time this event was held, Americans turned in492.7 tonsof prescription drugs at4,587 collection sites operated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and its state, local and tribal law enforcement partners.

In addition to the law enforcement sites available to the public, 141 healthcare facilities across the state will also be participating in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. These facilities, such as long-term care facilities and nursing homes, will dispose of their own unused and expired medications to further reduce the potential of diversion of dangerous controlled substances.

The DEA can only accept pills or patches, not liquids, needles or sharps. While the DEA now accepts vaping devices and cartridges at any of its drop off locations during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, it is important to note that DEA cannot accept devices containing lithium ion batteries. If batteries cannot be removed prior to drop-off, DEA encourages individuals to consult with stores that recycle lithium ion batteries.

The 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 9.7 million Americans misused prescription pain relievers, 4.9 million people misused prescription stimulants, and 5.9 million people misused prescription tranquilizers or sedatives in 2019.The survey also found that most of the misused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, there are concerns about unused pharmaceuticals getting into the wrong hands. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which has declared this public health threat an epidemic, more than 70,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2019, and nearly 841,000 people have died from drug overdoses since 1999.

New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez said, "Prescription drug misuse has been an ongoing public health crisis that threatens to jeopardize the lives of many young people, families and communities across our state. Participation inNational Prescription Drug Take Back Day will not only help to reduce access to and prevent non-medical use of opioids, depressants, stimulants, and other drugs, but will also providethe public with an option to safely dispose of these unused medications."

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "I encourage all New Yorkers to take inventory of their medicine cabinets and take advantage of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day by getting rid of outdated and unneeded medications and helping protect our homes, loved ones, and the planet. By removing these unused chemicals from the waste stream, we are reducing their potential to end up in our lakes and rivers, and ultimately our drinking water, thereby removing potential threats to public health and the environment."

Typical methods for disposing of unused medications, such as throwing them in the trash or flushing them down the toilet, pose potential health, safety and environmental hazards.

To protect New York's water quality and also help address the opioid crisis, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) launched a statewide pilot pharmaceutical take-back program in 2017 to offer a year-round opportunity for people to dispose of medications that are no longer needed. Nearly 430 retail pharmacies, hospitals, and long-term care facilities are currently participating in this Pilot Pharmaceutical Take Back Program.Locations are spread all across the state and provide New Yorkers with a safe, convenient, and environmentally responsible way to properly dispose of their unwanted medications. To date, the program has collected nearly 100,000 pounds of controlled and non-controlled medications. For a map of medication collection kiosks in New York State, please visit DEC's website.

The New York State Department of Health (DOH) recently issued final regulations that requires drug manufacturing companies to fund drug take back programs, similar to DEC's pilot program.This program will be administered by the drug manufacturers with direct oversight by DOH's Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement.DEC and DOH worked together on drafting the final regulations and will continue this work as the manufacturer-funded program is further developed and implemented.

For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, go to the DEA Diversion website.