Thank you for running an informative article regarding cleaning out your medicine cabinet in your Tuesday, Jan. 8, edition. As Cayuga County’s local public health department, our agency often receives questions from residents about the best way to dispose of unnecessary or expired medications safely.

In addition to preventing the use of drugs in some manner they are not intended, proper disposal of medications is also important in order to protect the county’s fresh water resources. Any medication flushed down your toilet has the potential to eventually find its way back to our rivers and lakes, even after processing through wastewater treatment. The impact of this includes:

• Flushed medications have been found in our lakes, rivers and streams.

• Fish and other aquatic wildlife are being adversely affected by the medications entering the water.

• Drug-resistant bacteria might develop as a result of long term exposure to antibiotics in the environment.

More information about this can be found at the New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation website https://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/45083.html

People are encouraged to drop unused medications at one of the many drug take back sites available around the county at no charge to the public. If you are not able to drop off medications at a drop off site, you can crush and mix the medication in coffee grounds or kitty litter and throw it away in your trash. A list of the currently available drug take back sites can be found on the Cayuga County Drug Free Community Coalition website at http://cayugacountydfc.com/initiatives/ These include the Cayuga County Sheriff Office, Auburn City Police, Rx City Pharmacy and Walgreens Pharmacy in Auburn; Pine Hill Hometown Pharmacy in Cato, Herbst Pharmacy in Port Byron and the Moravia Police Department.

Kathleen D. Cuddy


Kathleen D. Cuddy is Cayuga County public health director.

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