Patient Care

Residents Can Safely Dispose of Unused Prescription Drugs, June 2

May. 28, 2019
Prescription Drug Take Back Day a collaboration of URMC surgical residents, NYS Police, the American Heart Association and Wegmans
graphic depicting prescription medication with the word

Old or unused prescription medications of any kind will be accepted for safe disposal during the Prescription Drug Take Back Day, Sunday, June 2, 2019, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

University of Rochester Medical Center’s Department of Surgery residency program and the New York State Police are teaming up with the American Heart Association and Wegmans on this community-wide event. It will take place, weather permitting, at 415 Elmwood Ave., near the intersection with Kendrick Road (if it rains, the event will move inside the Flaum Eye Institute at 210 Crittenden Blvd.).

This year’s give-back day follows the success of the inaugural event in 2018, which resulted in the collection of 187 pounds of unused prescription drugs.

“This is one of several University of Rochester Medical Center initiatives to ensure the safe use of opioids, and it is a shining example of our surgical residents’ involvement in helping alleviate this crisis,” said Michael J. Apostolakos, M.D., Chief Medical Officer and VP, University of Rochester Medical Center. “This event allows us to reach out to the community to be more proactive in working to address the opioid issue. That we are holding this event again is a testament to our residents’ dedication and to the success of the first drug take-back day.”

“Our nation and our community continue to face a crisis with the abuse of opioids and other prescription medications. The Prescription Drug Take Back Day supports URMC’s ongoing initiatives to reduce and better manage opioids – and to save lives in the process,” said David Linehan, M.D., chair of Surgery.

According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 11 million people aged 12 or older misused opioids in the past year, and more than 53 percent of those who misused prescription pain medications obtained them from a friend or relative.

“The State Police is proud to partner with the University of Rochester Medical Center, the PBA Surgeons Program, the American Heart Association and Wegmans in the 2019 Drug Take Back Day,” said Troop E Commander, Major Eric Laughton. “It’s an important event and we, the State Police, will provide troopers and our evidence custodian, Investigator David Perl, to handle and record all of the prescription medicine to be safely and properly disposed.”

“The Prescription Drug Take Back Day is a tremendous example of the community coming together, and it fits well with Monroe County’s Opioid Action Plan,” said Michael Mendoza, M.D., M.P.H., Commissioner of Public Health, Monroe County Health Department. “It is imperative that we remove unwanted opioids from people’s homes, as 70 percent of people with an opioid addiction started with a prescription drug. URMC’s surgical residents are to be commended for their leadership in helping to address this critical issue.”

Additional activities during the give-back day include:

  • Free supplies of Narcan and Narcan training provided by Strong Recovery chemical dependency program
  • Free blood-pressure screenings by the American Heart Association
  • Attendees can participate in a survey about the quantity of returned drugs and their knowledge of routine disposal, as part of a research project led by URMC surgery residents
  • Free lunch for the first 500 participants, provided by the URMC Department of Surgery

Lauren DeCaporale-Ryan, Ph.D., who supports surgery resident wellness programs, said, “It is important that we do everything we can to remove unused prescription drugs from the home and keep them from getting into the wrong hands. Old prescription medications are dangerous and can have tragic consequences.”

UR Medicine offers numerous opportunities for safe medication disposal. Several UR Medicine pharmacies accept unused prescription medications, including Strong Memorial Hospital Outpatient Pharmacy, Highland Hospital Outpatient Pharmacy, Strong Ties Pharmacy and Highland South Wedge Pharmacy.

Wegmans is helping to promote the Prescription Drug Take Back Day by distributing flyers at its Chili, East Avenue, Henrietta and Pittsford stores.