MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. - Local residents are invited to give their medicine cabinets a once-over this Saturday and come to the Mount Kisco police station to drop off their old prescription drugs.
Saturday will be the second Prescription Drug Take-Back Day in Mount Kisco this year. The event is part of a national initiative run by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency that takes expired or unwanted prescription drugs out of circulation.
The Mount Kisco Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Council will have its drive at the station from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with all donations to be supervised by the DEA, which will incinerate the pills and send the council a report.
Council co-coordinator Dr. Nan Miller said the DEA has a set schedule of take back days online. This year, Mount Kisco pharmacist Kanta Asrani handled arrangements with the agency for collection, she said.
Miller said it was suggested at a recent meeting that Mount Kisco look into installing a permanent pill receptacle at the station. “Some communities are actually buying the containers and having them be permanent,” she said.
Mel Berger, council chairperson and retired pharmacist, said prescription pills are not only dangerous if directly abused, but also can infiltrate into the water system.
According to Berger, it is not enough to flush drugs down the toilet or even throw them in the garbage can, where they will go to the dump. Hormones, steroids and cancer drugs can penetrate the groundwater, which will leach out into the Hudson River, he said.
Berger said the danger lies not only in the issue of easy access to medicine cabinets by teens, but in the possibility that the potency of some drugs may increase over time.
There is “no way to tell whether the drug is now twice as potent as when it was first prescribed or whether it has no potency at all,” he said, a danger that creates a risk for overdose, especially if these prescriptions are combined or mixed with alcohol.
The last take-back event by the council in partnership with the DEA was April 28. The group collected seven cases of prescription drugs from residents of Mount Kisco, Katonah, Bedford, Chappaqua and Armonk.