Leftover or expired prescription medications, particularly painkillers, can be a target of theft and misuse. According to RxDrugDropBox.org, “America’s 12- to 17-year-olds have made prescription drugs the number one substance of abuse for their age group, and much of that supply is unwittingly coming from the medicine cabinets of their parents, grandparents, and friends.”
Many local police departments have drop boxes that allow residents to dispose of these drugs. The Saugerties Police Department has one, and it reported a large increase in returns — a testament to the program’s efficacy and the large amount of prescription drugs that could potentially be abused.
According to Police Chief Joseph Sinagra, the Saugerties Police MedReturn Box took in over 300 lbs. of pharmaceutical drugs between April 1 and September 1 of this year. This represents a 40 percent increase over last year’s pharmaceutical returns during the same five-month period.
Since the inception of the MedReturn Box at Saugerties Police Headquarters in 2013, Saugerties Police have taken in of over 3,000 pounds in unwanted and expired pharmaceuticals from area residents. “This is a tremendous effort by our community toward ensuring that these unused and expired medications don’t end up on the streets and in the wrong hands,” states a report by Sinagra. “Proper disposal of these medications also ensures our environment and wildlife are also being protected.”