Fight against drug abuse and pollution
At a press conference, Niagara County and state officials announced the expansion of Niagara County’s permanent pharmaceutical drop-box program to the Town of Newfane. The goal is to enhance the collection of pharmaceuticals in rural portions of the county.
The collection container, donated by Covanta Niagara, resembles a mailbox and is located in a common area of Newfane Town Hall. The container will be available for use by residents during normal operational hours. Residents who wish to dispose of any unwanted medications from their homes simply place the items into the bin, no questions asked. This effort is led in collaboration with the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, Niagara County Division of Environmental/Solid Waste, the Town of Newfane, and Covanta Niagara.
Covanta is a world leader in sustainable waste and energy solutions. Its energy-from-waste facility, Covanta Niagara in Niagara Falls, uses up to 2,250 tons of waste per day as fuel to generate low-cost steam for industrial customers and electricity for the Western New York region.
“Prescription drugs can cause irreparable harm to our communities and environment if they’re not thrown out correctly,” said Kathleen Carroll, business manager at Covanta. “By utilizing convenient drop-boxes provided by Covanta, residents can easily get rid of their medication with the confidence it will be disposed of properly and securely. We are proud to partner with the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, Niagara County Division of Environmental and Solid Waste, Town of Newfane, Sen. Robert Ortt, Assemblyman Michael Norris, Legislator John Syracuse and town Supervisor Tim Horanburg to help make their communities’ health and safety a priority.”
This is now the county’s seventh location that provides confidential and secure pharmaceutical collection, promoting the safe disposal of prescription and over-the-counter medications. Since inception of the county’s program in 2014, nearly 15,000 pounds of pharmaceutical waste have been safely managed, protecting residents and the environment.
Ortt, who co-chairs the New York State Senate Joint Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction, expressed his support for drug drop-off programs and their positive impact on communities.
“As a member of the New York State Senate’s Opioid Task Force, I traveled across New York state and heard countless stories about the pain that prescription drug abuse has inflicted on individuals, families and communities,” Ortt said. “It is important that we provide residents with the opportunity to properly dispose of these dangerous drugs so that they do not end up in the hands of individuals who should not have them. I am proud to work in conjunction with the Niagara County Division of Environmental and Solid Waste, the Niagara County Sheriff's Office, and Covanta Energy to create a safer Niagara County and help remove unwanted pharmaceuticals from the homes of Niagara County residents.”
With the current opioid epidemic affecting each region of the county, the strain on law enforcement and public safety continues to increase.
“Pharmaceutical controlled substances that can easily be found in home medicine cabinets have become the supply of choice for individuals suffering from drug addiction. The pharmaceutical drop box program has proven to be very effective in preventing these drugs from ending up in the wrong hands,” said Niagara County Undersheriff Michael Filicetti.
Shoreline communities such as Newfane are threatened by pollution from the wrongful disposal of pharmaceutical waste. Drug drop-off programs play a crucial role in communities that are affected by pollution by allowing access to modes of safe and responsible disposal.
“I’d like to recognize the collaborative efforts of Niagara County Division of Environmental/Solid Waste, Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, and Covanta Niagara for providing a way in which our community can better protect itself from the harmful effects of improper disposal of prescription drugs,” Syracuse said.
Items that are not accepted for collection include hypodermic needles, compressed materials, and liquid waste. Residents concerned about their identity may scribble out their names on the prescription bottles, but this program is entirely anonymous and all contents are destroyed at a secured location.
For more information on the safe and proper disposal of your prescription medications, visit www.rethinkyourwaste.com.