GREAT NECK, NY – On October 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., North Shore-LIJ Health System and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public another opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. You can bring your medications for disposal to one of 13 North Shore-LIJ locations on Long Island or in New York City, including 11‘drive-up/drop-off’ locations at health system hospitals, staffed by St. John’s University pharmacy students. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
Last April, Americans turned in 371 tons (over 742,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at over 5,800 sites operated by the DEA and its thousands of state and local law enforcement partners. In its six previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners took in over 2.8 million pounds—more than 1,400 tons—of pills. At North Shore-LIJ facilities over 3,300 pounds of unused or expired medications have been collected since 2010.
This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards.
“Prescription drug abuse is one of the fastest growing problems in our society and can have deadly consequences,” said Michael Dowling, president and chief executive officer of the North Shore-LIJ Health System. “By offering our hospitals as locations for the safe removal and disposal of unused medicines, we are addressing a vital public safety and health issue.”
Individuals can bring their unused prescription drugs for safe disposal to the following North Shore-LIJ Health System hospital collection sites:
Suffolk Locations: Huntington Hospital* and Southside Hospital* (Bay Shore)
Nassau Locations: Bethpage Urgi-Care Facility*, Plainview*, Syosset* and Glen Cove Hospitals*, Franklin Hospital in Valley Stream*, North Shore University (Manhasset)*, and LIJ Medical Center (New Hyde Park)*.
New York City Locations: Forest Hills Hospital, Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, Staten Island University* (North and South campuses).
* Drive-up/Drop-Off Locations
For more information on North Shore-LIJ collection locations call (516) 881-7028.