Local and state officials are excited about a new prescription drug drop-off box that was unveiled Monday, in an effort to combat drug abuse in Oneonta and surrounding areas.
Assemblyman Pete Lopez, R-Schoharie, State Sen. James Seward, R-Milford, Mayor Dick Miller, Kenneth Yamashita, site director at Mallinckrodt’s Hobart plant and Oneonta police chief Dennis Nayor were all present at the unveiling of the box at the Oneonta police station on Monday morning.
The prescription drug take-back collection box is the result of a collaboration between Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, who donated it, and the Oneonta police department, and will be a place where people can dispose of unused or unwanted prescription drugs.
Lt. Douglas Brenner said he has seen countless elderly people walk into the Oneonta Police Department with big bags full of old medicine they don’t how to properly discard. The drop box, he said, will provide a more efficient way to do this.
“It’s exciting to be able to make this available,” Brenner said. “It makes you feel good.”
Seward said prescription drug abuse is a growing problem, with 12 million people reporting non-medical use of prescription pain killers to the Centers for Disease Control. Prescription drug abuse can kill, he said, and also adds to overall health costs the community ends up having to pay. The drop box will fill “a huge need,” he said.
Several laws have been passed in New York to increase penalties for prescription drug abuse, including I-STOP, Seward said, a law that updated and modernized the registry that monitors prescriptions. This, he said, has helped monitor abuse and combat the circulation of illegally-obtained prescription drugs. But it wasn’t enough.
“New laws are great,” Seward said, “but we needed an increase in awareness of this problem, as well as a safe, convenient and secure way to dispose of prescription drugs. I applaud Mallinckrodt and the city police for coming together to provide the drop-box.”