The Rochester community is invited to safely dispose prescription medications from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 19, at the University of Rochester Medical Center. The Prescription Drug Take Back, offered collaboratively with the New York State Police, will be held at 415 Elmwood Ave., near the intersection with Kendrick Road.
“We are facing a crisis with the abuse of opioids and other prescription medications. Providing our community the opportunity to protect their loved ones by eliminating access to drugs and potentially save lives,” said David Linehan, M.D., chair of Surgery.
According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, nearly 6.5 million Americans abused controlled prescription drugs, often taken from a medicine cabinet. Each day, 115 Americans die from opioid overdoses.
“The State Police is extremely committed to help fight the opioid crises in this area and throughout the state,” Troop E Commander Major Richard Allen said. “The Troopers in this region work hard every day, arresting those responsible for putting legal and illegal drugs in the communities we police. We are very excited to team up with the University of Rochester Medical Center for the Prescription Drug Take Back event on May 19.”
Participants will receive information about drug abuse and addiction services through Strong Recovery chemical dependency program and opportunities for year-round medication disposal through UR Medicine.
The effort is being led by members of the General Surgery Residency Program and provides hands-on education about the variety and volume of drugs that accumulate after surgery, injury or illness.
Lauren DeCaporale-Ryan, Ph.D., who supports Surgery resident wellness programs, said they often see a grandparent asking to remove prescription medications from their home because they are worried that a teenage grandchild will get into them. “Far too often these medications find their way into the wrong hands. That's dangerous and often tragic,” she said.
Participants will also have the opportunity to complete a survey about the quantity of drugs turned in and their knowledge of routine disposal, which is part of a research project led by Surgery residents.
“This will be a great learning opportunity for all residents to see the kinds of medications that are dropped off and by whom. We know that surgeons beginning their career tend to prescribe more pain medications than a seasoned surgeon, and with time, they grow more adept at understanding their patients’ true needs. This will be a solid step forward,” Surgery chief resident Nicole Toscano, M.D., said.
Several UR Medicine pharmacies accept unused prescription medications: Strong Memorial Hospital Outpatient Pharmacy, Highland Hospital Outpatient Pharmacy, Strong Ties Pharmacy and Highland South Wedge Pharmacy.