LI hospitals, universities take part in take-back effort

Hand it over: Expired and otherwise dangerous unused meds will be collected this week across Long Island during the DEA's National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

Several Long Island institutions will take part in a nationwide effort to rid medicine cabinets across the land of unused, sometimes dangerous unused prescription medications.

Five Northwell Health facilities on Long Island will take part in April 28’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, a chance for people to safely remove unused and expired prescriptions from their homes.

Also lending itself to Saturday’s cause will be Garden City’s Adelphi University, which will once again work in conjunction with local and national organizations to serve as a collection point for “potentially dangerous, expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs,” the university said in a statement.

This week’s event continues Adelphi University’s unblemished record of participating in every National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day sponsored by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Stony Brook University, meanwhile, is scheduled to take back unused prescription drugs during an Earth Day-related collection effort slated for Wednesday at the university’s Student Activities Center.

Saturday’s national program marks the fifth DEA-sanctioned National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day since May 2016. Designed to address “a crucial public safety and public health issue” – the program’s website counts 6.4 million Americans who abuse prescription meds – the effort has proved extremely successful: The most recent take-back day in October 2017 saw some 4,274 law-enforcement agencies combine to collect more than 456 tons of unused and expired medications.

Northwell Health alone collected more than 300 pounds of unused prescriptions during that event six months ago, according to the New Hyde Park-based health system.

On Saturday, Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead, Huntington Hospital, North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset and New Hyde Park’s Long Island Jewish Medical Center with join four other Northwell facilities around the state, all collecting unused pharmaceuticals between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Collection of expired or unused drugs will take place during those same hours at Adelphi’s University Center in Garden City, marking the 15th time the university has participated in the nationally coordinated effort since the DEA, a division of the U.S. Department of Justice, launched the program in 2011.