The Niagara County Refuse Disposal District's medicine drop-off day on Saturday in the Town of Wheatfield drew this year's highest volume for any such event. Residents got rid of old prescriptions in droves - 57 5-gallon containers totaling more than 588 pounds of pills, which have an estimated illegal street value of more than $1 million, were safely removed from medicine cabinets.
"The district has received so much support from our residents and elected leadership that today in Wheatfield we set another 2011 record, removing well over 19,600 dosage units," said Refuse District Director Richard Pope. "I'm very pleased to provide this public service in our county."
Refuse Disposal District programs have received heavy support from State Sen. George Maziarz since their beginning in 2008. Maziarz has sponsored two bills in the State Senate that made the municipal collection and proper environmental disposal and recycling of unwanted pharmaceuticals state law. These programs aim to keep medicines out of Niagara County drinking waters.
Niagara County Sheriff James Voutour, District Attorney Michael Violante and Assemblyman John Ceretto also have supported district initiatives.
The district team gathered its largest amount of pills in the Niagara and southern tier regions in September of 2010. Working with the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, employees netted 720 pounds of pills in five hours. So far in 2011, the Niagara County group has received 1,101.32 pounds worth of disposed medicine from Niagara County residents.
Town of Wheatfield Highway Superintendent Arthur Kroening and Supervisor Robert Cliffe hosted Saturday's pill drop-off day.