POUND RIDGE, N.Y. – Pound Ridge residents will soon have a safe way to dispose of their old and expired prescription drugs.
The Pound Ridge Police Department, in conjunction with the state and the Westchester Office of Drug Abuse Prevention and Stop DWI, has provided a receptacle at police headquarters where people can dispose of their expired prescriptions.
Police Chief Dave Ryan said the reasons behind the state-run program are both environmental and safety-based.
“The whole purpose is to keep people from leaving expired prescriptions around the house or dumping them into the water supply,” he said. “Now they will have a place to dispose of them safely and legally. Sometimes when elderly people pass away, they leave their prescription drugs behind, and their family members don’t know what to do with them.”
Ryan said prescription drug abuse has become just as big a problem as illicit drug abuse, so finding a way to get rid of unwanted pills is important. And in Pound Ridge especially, disposing of them properly is crucial to the environment.
“We don’t have a sewage system in Pound Ridge. Every house has a septic tank,” he said. “So if people flush them, they could wind up in the aquifer. Plus, you don’t want them getting into the hands of anyone else. Prescription drugs are a significantly larger problem than they used to be. The black market value is high.”
The department’s Sgt. Tom Mulcahy is overseeing the program. He said the receptacle, which resembles a street-corner mailbox, is especially designed for this purpose.
“It’s designed to take the drugs, and no one can gain access to it except us,” he said. “When it’s full, we make the arrangements to take them out and have them sent to be destroyed.”
Ryan and Mucahy said the final details of the program are still being worked out, but they hope to have it up and running this month.
Ryan said towns aren’t required to run the program.
“We get asked all the time about this,” Ryan said. “We get calls from the seniors. So it makes sense for us to do it. We volunteered. The state has provided the funding for the receptacles.”
When the program starts, people will be able drop off their unwanted prescription drugs in the police headquarters lobby from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.