News & Press: For Immediate Release

After Drug Take-Back Pilot Program, 4 out of 5 Participating Pharmacies Continue Collections

Thursday, September 1, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Suzy Whalen


September 1, 2016



Vivian Fuhrman, PSI - - (617) 236-4771

Suzy Whalen, PSI - - (617) 236-8293

Andrew Radin, NYPSC - - (315) 453-2866


After Drug Take-Back Pilot Program, 4 out of 5 Participating Pharmacies Continue Collections due to High Resident Demand

First pharmacy-based collection program for controlled substances in two New York counties brings in an estimated 300 pounds of leftover medications


New York - Due to high public satisfaction, 4 of the 5 pharmacies participating in a Lewis and Oneida County drug take-back pilot project today announced that they will continue offering residents this safe, convenient option for removing leftover medications from their homes. Drug take-back programs are recognized as a significant strategy to reduce the drug abuse epidemic plaguing communities across the U.S. and to protect waterways. 

Designed and implemented by the Product Stewardship Institute and the New York Product Stewardship Council, the pilot program offered residents ongoing disposal options for their expired or unwanted medications, thereby reducing the public health and environmental impacts of leftover drugs. Those participating in the six-month pilot included Bonaparte Pharmacy in Harrisville, The Falls Pharmacy in Lyon Falls, U&I Pharmacy in Vernon, Garro Drugs in Utica, and Lewis County General Hospital Pharmacy in Lowville. All except The Falls Pharmacy will continue collections. 

"We're grateful for the opportunity we had to provide county residents with an easy, safe solution for removing leftover drugs from their medicine cabinets," noted Gary Athmakuri, head pharmacist at Garro Drugs in Oneida County. "Not only did we collect a significant amount of unwanted medications, our pharmacy also benefitted from increased foot traffic and loyalty from our customers-they love the program! Due to this success, we've decided to continue the program indefinitely at our store." 

Funded through a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture, the Lewis/Oneida County pilot program used pharmacy-based collection receptacles and pre-paid mail-back envelopes to facilitate the safe disposal of unwanted over-the-counter and prescription drugs (including controlled substances) for free, no questions asked. 

"Over 1,000 people in New York die each year from a drug overdose - often from prescription drugs - and leftover pharmaceuticals can also make their way into our water supply," said Emily Albright, director of recycling at the Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority, NY. "We're proud to have partnered with five outstanding community pharmacies, public health agencies, local non-profits, and waste managers to divert these dangerous drugs from residents' homes and drinking water." 

County residents who seek to dispose of leftover drugs can visit the following pharmacy locations:

  • Lewis County General Hospital, 7785 N. State Street, Lowville, NY - (315) 376-2970
    • Hours: Mon-Fri 7:30am - 4:30p; Sat 7:30am - 10:30am
  • Bonaparte Pharmacy, 8210 Main St, Harrisville, NY - (315) 537-5032 
    • Hours: Mon-Fri 9:00am - 5:00pm
  • 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

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