Niagara Gazette — LOCKPORT —The Niagara County Sheriff’s Office and Niagara County Refuse Disposal District are being honored for their role in the destruction of one million pounds of unwanted prescription medication.
The recognition came from Covanta, a waste management and renewable energy company that operates a waste to energy facility in the Falls. Covanta said the sheriff’s office and refuse disposal district have both worked closely with them in the company’s Prescription for Safety Program.
Niagara County’s Pharmaceutical Collection program is a joint effort between the sheriff’s office, the refuse disposal district, and the Town of Lewiston and Niagara Falls police departments.
Residents from across the county are able to dispose of old prescription drugs, expired medications, and other common pharmaceuticals at confidential drop-off sites located throughout the county. The drugs are collected from a secure bin and are properly destroyed through Covanta’s Prescription for Safety program.
The drugs are processed into clean energy at the Covanta Niagara energy-from-waste facility free of charge.
“Pharmaceuticals are a hot commodity on the streets these days,” Sheriff Jim Voutour said. “The ability to allow citizens to dispose of unwanted drugs year round will help keep them out of the wrong hands.”
Prescription drug related deaths now outnumber those from heroin and cocaine combined. Drug overdose deaths exceed motor vehicle-related deaths in over half of the United States.
“Prescription drug abuse is a growing epidemic in the U.S. and Covanta’s program provides people with a confidential and environmentally-sound way to dispose of unwanted prescription medications, keeping them out of the hands of potential drug abusers,” Kevin O’Neil, Covanta Niagara’s business manager said in announcing the honor. “Thanks to the efforts of Niagara County and others, we have reached this major milestone, protecting both people and the environment from the improper disposal of drugs.”