Saturday, April 30 is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day around the United States. It’s a day where people can come out to drop off prescription drugs of all kinds, no questions asked. Last year, more than 350 million pounds of prescription drugs were recovered around the country. Chemung County is a healthy contributor to that rising total, which seems to grow both nationally and locally every year.
“This is always been a very popular event, people frequently called the Sheriff’s Office asking when the next one is going to be. I think this year, it got advertised a little bit more which helped, and I think we’re going to be well above what we normally do if this pace keeps up,” said William Schrom, the Chemung County Undersheriff.
Undersheriff Schrom also believes the opioid abuse epidemic, which Chemung County is no stranger to, also contributed to this year being a busier one than usual on Prescription Drug Take-Back day.
“Granted, some of them (overdoses) are related to heroin but a lot of them are related to prescription drugs, drugs that have been abused in some way. I think people are much more aware with all that’s been going on lately and figured ‘let’s get this out’ and disposed of accordingly so these younger kids can’t get a hold of them,” said Schrom.
The recovered prescription pills are then collected by members of the Drug Enforcement Agency. In this case, the DEA takes the pills from the collecting points in Chemung County, which were the Southport Vol. and West Elmira Fire Departments, to Niagara, N.Y. to be incinerated.
This process not only helps those dropping off the drugs feel better about getting rid of them responsibility, but it especially eases the minds of the law enforcement accepting them, for a variety of reasons.
“It’s about the same as every other year, it’s hundreds and hundreds of pounds we usually take in. It’s just good to have them destroyed, it doesn’t get in the water tables or kids’ hands or anything like that. So it’s a it’s a good thing, and it gets good response from the community,” said Sgt. Charles Kennedy of the Chemung County Sheriff’s Office.
According to Undersheriff Schrom, today’s prescription drug take-back event was the most successful single day event for the Sheriff’s Office since they joined the national effort.
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Chemung County Sheriff’s Office gathered 1,847 lbs. of medication from 563 people from the two Chemung County drop-off locations.