Posted at: 04/26/2013 9:22 PM
Updated at: 04/27/2013 6:40 PM
By: Amanda Ciavarri
Here in Rochester and across the country people turned out to turn in old medications.
Saturday is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. It's an effort to not only help the environment, but also make the community a safe place.
The Center for Disease Control says for the past 11 years drug overdose deaths have increased and in 2010, 38,000 people died from a drug overdose in the United States alone.
There were seven different collection sites around Monroe County on Saturday. Dozens of people dropped off their unused, unwanted and leftover medications.
Organizers say it is important to keep prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicine from being thrown out or flushed, because all of that could end up in our landfills, and even perhaps, in your drinking water.
Since 2008, Monroe County has collected 33,000 pounds of pills.
“I knew our medicine cabinet is full, so we took ten minutes to sort through it because I really didn't want to flush it down the toilet or throw it in the garbage,” said Steve Morith, who participated in the drop off on Saturday.
Tom Sinclair, who works for the Monroe County Department of Environmental Services, says that is the exact attitude they hope everyone has. They want to keep as many pharmaceuticals out of the landfills as possible.
“There was a study done by the United States Geological Survey that was showing that pharmaceuticals were showing up in our lakes, rivers, streams and in some of our drinking water throughout the United States,” said Sinclair.
The Monroe County Sheriff's Office and a national drug enforcement agency were at sites on Saturday.
“The big reason is because people are getting rid of prescription medications and over the counter medication, but a lot of those are controlled substances. So we want to keep those out of the environment and we also want to keep those out of the hands of people who could maybe, possibly misuse them,” said Sinclair.
Organizers say having old pills around just leaves people vulnerable for bad things to happen.
“Keeping this stuff from being diverted from people who might misuse this material. The other thing we look at is seniors. As they get older they start to leave a lot of medications around their house, so they can create an issue for toddlers, or even for teenagers to misuse them,” said Sinclair.
Monroe County was the first county in New York State to participate in prescription pill drop off sites.
Since the program started 10,000 residents have taken advantage of the service.
If you missed Saturday's event but still have medications you want to hand over, there are some permanent drop off locations around the area.
Click here for a complete list of drop off locations throughout the state.