PENN YAN — A record amount of unused prescription drugs was collected during Saturday’s “Take-Back Drugs” day at Tops Market in the village.
The event was coordinated by the Yates County Sheriff’s Department with help from Tops, the Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association and U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.
County Sheriff Ron Spike said 190 pounds of prescription meds were collected in four hours, breaking the previous record of 126 pounds taken in during April 2011.
Other events in the county have taken in between 60 to 85 pounds of drugs.
“The partnership with Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association, Tops and the DEA was important for the Yates County community, as our goal was to prevent increased pill abuse, misuse and theft while addressing a vital public safety, public health issue and preventing the environmental issue of flushing drugs down the toilet,” Spike said.
A number of police agencies in Ontario, Seneca and Wayne counties also took part in the national initiative Saturday. Expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs collected are immediately destroyed by the DEA.
In Ontario County, other partners included the Finger Lakes Zero Waste Coalition and the Partnership for Ontario County. The event was held at Tops on Routes 5&20 in Geneva.
County Sheriff Phil Povero said his department accepts the drugs several times a year at different sites around the county. The final one of the year will be Oct. 6 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Victor school campus on High Street.
In addition to the Sept. 29 drug collections, the state police Troop E headquarters on Route 332 in Farmington has set up a prescription drug mailbox. All prescription medicine, medicated ointments and over-the-counter medications and inhalers will be accepted at the site.
Hazardous materials, including needles, won’t be accepted.
Spike expects to have at least two more events next year.
“Offering such a program and collaborating with community partners was important,” he said. “We look forward to future take-backs.”