News & Press: For Immediate Release

Pharmacy-Based Drug Take-Back Program Launched in Oneida and Lewis Counties

Monday, March 7, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Suzy Whalen
March 7, 2016


Scott Cassel, PSI - - (617) 236-4822
Suzy Whalen, PSI - - (617) 236-8293
Andrew Radin, NYPSC - -(315) 453-2866


Pharmacy-Based Drug Take-Back Program Launched
in Oneida and Lewis Counties

First collection program at pharmacies for controlled substances in the counties

New York- Today, four pharmacies in New York's Oneida and Lewis counties will begin collecting leftover pharmaceuticals from residents free of charge. Designed and implemented by the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) and the New York Product Stewardship Council (NYPSC), this drug take-back pilot program offers county residents convenient locations to dispose of their leftover and expired medications - just one part of a comprehensive strategy to reduce the public health and environmental impacts resulting from unwanted drugs.


Funded through a grant awarded to PSI and NYPSC by the United States Department of Agriculture, the pilot program will use pharmacy-based collection receptacles and pre-paid mail-back envelopes to facilitate the proper disposal of leftover pharmaceuticals. The locked receptacles and envelopes, acquired through Sharps Compliance, Inc., allow residents to dispose of unused medications -- both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription (Rx) drugs (schedule II-V) -- for free, no questions asked. In contrast to the collections that take place at police stations and non-pharmacy locations, this program represents the first time that pharmacies are collecting controlled and non-controlled substances in the two counties on an ongoing basis. The pilot program is scheduled for six months.


"Every year more than 1,000 people in New York State die from a drug overdose - most commonly from prescription drugs," said Jan Oatman, regional recycling coordinator of the Development Authority of the North Country, NY. "Along with our Lewis County partner, we are honored to be working with an impressive coalition of pharmacies, local government agencies, non-profits, and waste managers to offer this collection service and negate the environmental and health effects leftover drugs pose to our communities."


Over $1 billion in leftover drugs are flushed down drains, tossed in the trash, or relegated to medicine cabinets each year. When flushed or trashed, over-the-counter medications and prescription drugs can potentially contaminate open waterways and local drinking water. Equally dangerous, drugs left in the home can find their way into the hands of children or potential addicts. Prescription drug abuse is the fastest growing drug problem in the U.S. In New York, the number of drug-related poisoning deaths doubled from 2003 to 2012, and the number of deaths involving prescription opioids increased more than four-fold.
Pharmacy collection of controlled substances was made possible in New York last fall, when Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill (A6062/S3687) that directs the NY Department of Health to oversee a program for the safe disposal of unused controlled substances at convenient locations like pharmacies,long-term care facilities, and narcotic treatment programs.


"Pharmacies are the most convenient, accessible location for residents to safely dispose of their unwanted medications," said Scott Cassel, chief executive officer and founder of PSI. "This project provides hassle-free collection of unwanted medicine from citizens and will be a model for pharmacies across the state and nationwide."


Participating pharmacies include:
  • Bonaparte Pharmacy, 8210 Main St, Harrisville, NY - (315) 537-5032
    • Hours: Mon-Fri 9:00am - 5:00pm
  • The Falls Pharmacy, 6805 McAlpine St, Lyon Falls, NY - (315) 348-8121
    • Hours: Mon-Fri 9:00am - 6:00pm; Sat 9:00am - 12:00pm
  • U&I Pharmacy, 5236 West Seneca St, Vernon, NY - (315) 829-3605
    • Hours: Mon-Fri 9:00am - 6:00pm
  • Garro Drugs, 704 Bleecker St, Utica, NY - (315) 732-6915
    • Hours: Mon-Fri 9:00am - 6:00pm; Sat 10:00am - 1:00pm
"As a pharmacy owner, I recognize the need for convenient locations where county residents can safely dispose of their unwanted and expired medications," said Kristine Richardson, owner of U&I Pharmacy in Vernon, Oneida County, NY. "Not only are we providing an important service to our community, but our business also benefits from increased customer loyalty and community awareness."

At the end of this project, PSI and NYPSC will compile aHow-To Guidedetailing best practices for establishing and operating pharmacy-based medication collection programs in rural communities. This guide will serve as a resource to other rural communities across New York State and nationally to support safe and environmentally sound pharmaceuticals management as part of a sustainable rural economy.

Learn more about PSI's work on pharmaceuticals on the PSI website, or contact Vivian Futran Fuhrman at (617) 236-4771.


About the Product Stewardship Institute:
The Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) is a national, membership-based nonprofit committed to reducing the health, safety, and environmental impacts of consumer products across their life cycle with a strong focus on sustainable end-of-life management. Headquartered in Boston, Mass., PSI takes a unique product stewardship approach to solving waste management problems by encouraging product design changes and mediating stakeholder dialogues.With 47 state environmental agency members, along with hundreds of local government members from coast-to-coast, and 110 corporate, business, academic, non-U.S. government, and organizational partners, we work to design, implement, evaluate, strengthen, and promote both legislative and voluntary product stewardship initiatives across North America. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

About the New York Product Stewardship Council (NYPSC)
NYPSC works to implement the principles of product stewardship in New York State and nationally by providing leadership, guidance, and resources (including policies, evaluations, and educational tools) to individuals, organizations, institutions, local governments, the state legislature, elected officials, and manufacturers. Product stewardship isthe act of minimizing health, safety, environmental and social impacts of a product and its packaging throughout all lifecycle stages, and maximizing economic benefits. The producer of aproduct has the greatest ability to minimize adverse impacts, but other stakeholders such as suppliers, retailers, and consumers also play a role.The NYPSC educates these stakeholders about the benefits of product stewardship and provides a forum for the exchange of information regarding existing policies and programs.

This material is based upon work supported under a grant by the Rural Utilities Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Any opinions, finding, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are solely the responsibility of authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Utilities Programs.

The Product Stewardship Institute, Inc. is an equal opportunity employer and provider. Persons with disabilities who require alternatively formatted materials to ensure effective communication should contact Amanda Nicholson at or (617) 236-4833. For TTY, please dial 711 or 800-439-2370; MassRelay.