Oswego Health is participating in the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) pharmaceutical take-back program. Through the program, the hospital has installed a secure medication collection box, where community members can place their unwanted and unused medications. The department can be accessed 24 hours a day.
Residents can dispose their over-the-counter and prescription drugs, including controlled substances, in the collection box. Items that are not accepted include aerosols, medical sharps (e.g., needles, syringes), mercury thermometers, batteries, medical equipment, supplies, or devices, and hazardous chemicals.
“In the past we held several successful afternoon take-back drug events and realized that there are many community members who want to properly dispose of their medications,” said Pharmacy Director Sandra Obleman, PharmD, RPh. “We felt this program would be of great benefit to our residents, as it would potentially prevent someone from taking medications not prescribed to them and would also help from an environmental standpoint.”
According to the DEC, when drugs are disposed of in the garbage, poured down the drain, or flushed, they end up in the environment, potentially harming aquatic ecosystems. The agency further reports, that one U.S. citizen dies every 14 minutes from a drug overdose, leading to 100 deaths per day across the country.
For residents who want to dispose of medical sharps, Oswego Health accepts approved containers of used needles and syringes, also known as sharps, at three of its laboratory facilities.
Sharps can be brought to the Oswego Hospital laboratory, which is located on the third floor, weekdays from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The sharps can also be dropped off at the Central Square and Fulton Medical Center laboratories weekdays, from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
To participate in Oswego Health’s waste acceptance program, all needles, syringes, lancets, and other sharps must be placed in a puncture resistant, leak proof container. Sharps of any kind should not be stored in soda cans, coffee cans, milk cartons, glass bottles or in any containers that are not puncture resistant.
Bleach and laundry detergent bottles are an example of a recommended storage container for used sharps.