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Upstate New York Poison Center Promotes Safe Medication Disposal on National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on April 27th

Image of Drug Take Back Day in April 2024

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (April 26, 2024) – The Upstate New York Poison Center is urging residents to safely dispose of any unused or expired medications as part of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, April 27th, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

This day aims to prevent prescription drug abuse and protect the environment by providing convenient and responsible disposal options.

Proper medication disposal is crucial to prevent your medications from getting into the wrong hands, unintentional exposure, and abuse. Poisoning is the third leading means of suicide in the U.S. In 2023 for teenagers between 13 and 19 years old, our poison center handled nearly 1,900 intentional suicide attempts by poisoning.

To make sure you safely dispose of any medications (prescription and non-prescription), follow these recommendations:

  1. Participate in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day: The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) organizes National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day every April and October. Residents can drop off unused or expired medications at designated collection sites during this event.
  2. Find an Authorized Drug Collection Site: Residents can find free collection sites in New York using this interactive map. Also, you can search this site for year-round drop-off locations near your home.
  3. Contact Your City/Town for Household Pharmaceutical Collections: Residents are encouraged to ask their local municipalities about household pharmaceutical collection events in collaboration with law enforcement agencies.
  4. Buy Pre-addressed Envelopes at Local Pharmacies: Many local pharmacies offer pre-addressed envelopes for mailing unwanted medications for safe incineration.
  5. Safely Dispose of Medications at Home: Use an at-home drug disposal kit like Deterra® for safe disposal. Simple instructions allow for proper and environmentally safe disposal.
  6. Dispose of Medications in the Trash as a Last Resort: If no other disposal options are available, follow FDA recommendations for disposing of medications in the trash. Make sure medications are mixed with undesirable substances and placed in sealed containers.

Additionally, the Upstate New York Poison Center emphasizes the importance of handling sharps, such as needles and electronic vaping devices, with care. Sharps should be disposed of at hospital-based collection programs or in puncture-proof containers sealed with tape and labeled appropriately.

Dr. Vince Calleo, Medical Director of the Upstate New York Poison Center, says, "Proper medication disposal is essential for safeguarding public health. National Prescription Drug Take Back Day allows you to safely get rid of unused medications at home. We encourage everyone to look in your cabinets and take advantage of this day and contribute to the prevention of prescription drug abuse."

In the case of a poisoning or for information purposes, call the Upstate New York Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222. We are open 24/7, 365 days a year. Each year our center manages more than 50,000 calls from health care providers, 911 operators, hospitals, industry, schools, and the general public in our 54-county service area.

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About Upstate New York Poison Center

Housed inside Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY, the Upstate New York Poison Center is dedicated to reducing the number, cost and severity of poisonings within its designated 54-county service area as mandated by New York State Law. The Center is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to both health professionals and the general public at 1-800-222-1222.

About Upstate Medical University

SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY, is the only academic medical center in Central New York. It is also the region's largest employer with 9,460 employees. Affiliated with the State University of New York, Upstate's mission is to improve the health of the community through education, biomedical research and health care.