Modified: July 5, 2017 9:14am
County Leaders Join Sheriff to Discuss the Drop-Off Program and Disposal
Buffalo, NY – Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard was joined by County Executive Mark Poloncarz, Dr. Gale Burstein – Erie County Health Commissioner, Legislature Majority Leader Joseph Lorigo, and Legislator Ted Morton, Chair of the Energy and Environment committee to discuss the prescription drug drop off program and the disposal of nearly 2 tons of medications.
Wednesday, July 5, the Erie County Sheriff’s Office transported a trailer full of surrendered prescription drugs to a Western New York facility for incineration. Burning the drugs prevents the medications from entering landfills, being disposed of by flushing the pills down the toilet, prevents illicit and illegal use and reduces the risk of accidental poisoning of our children and elderly.
Sheriff Howard said, “My office initiated a prescription drug drop off program four years ago with only a few box locations, and now this program has grown to more than twenty locations which have collected 15-tons of medications. My office’s drop-off kiosks, along with the county’s, and area towns’ are having an impact on illegal prescription drug use by removing unwanted or unused drugs from people’s homes.”
The Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with the Erie County Health Department, started the program in 2013 with thirteen medication and syringe locations with kiosks. Today the Sheriff’s Office maintains twenty-six (26) locations throughout Erie County and will add kiosks at the Wales and Boston municipal buildings. Since 2013, the Erie County Sheriff’s Office has collected and safely destroyed over 14.5-tons of drugs and 4.5-tons of Syringes.
County Executive Poloncarz stated, “Every day, whether we see it in the news or not, drugs are taking a toll on the residents of Erie County. Actions such as today’s drug burn help to demonstrate the scope of the problem we are facing and also underscore our commitment to removing these destructive substances from our community. I thank the Sheriff’s office for the work they are doing to curtail drugs in Erie County and urge residents to be aware of these substances and be safe.”
The Erie County Sheriff’s Office collects and securely maintains all collected pharmaceuticals from the county’s drop-off locations as well as pharmaceuticals collected by the Town of Evans, Hamburg, and Cheektowaga. The Sheriff’s Office then transports the collection barrels to Covanta Energy, a New York Department of Environment and Conservation regulated facility, where the barrels and the contents are safely destroyed and converted into energy. The syringes are dropped off weekly at the Erie County Health Department to be sealed and shipped to a medical waste disposal facility.
“Most individuals suffering from opioid use disorder began their addiction with a legitimate painkiller prescription for either themselves or a family member or close friend,” explains Dr. Burstein. “I strongly encourage all Erie County residents to take advantage of our free and safe drug disposal program to get dangerous prescription medication out of their home. Prevention is the best medicine.”
Among the twenty-six Sheriff controlled locations, the Clarence, ECC North, Elma, Grand Island, and ECMC locations have collected approximately 1,900 lbs. of prescription medications in 2017, with other locations collecting about 40 pounds per month.
Legislator Ted Morton said, “Thank you to Sheriff Howard and the administration for working to provide this safe, convenient program to dispose of unwanted medications and syringes. As Chairman of the Energy and Environment Committee, I know the threat that improperly disposing of these items can have on our waterways and landfills. It is important for residents to know of these numerous drop-off sites to insure that items are properly disposed of.”
Since 2013, The Sheriff’s Office has participated in 6 national collection events with the drug enforcement agency which disposed of an additional 5-tons of medication and a half ton of syringes above the estimated 14.5 tons of drugs and 5-tons of syringes collected from county locations.
“I want to thank my fellow County leaders for being partners in my public safety role,” said Sheriff Howard. “This is a fine example of your government working together to protect the residents of Erie County and battle this drug epidemic which is affecting so many of our loved ones.”
For a list of Sheriff’s drop off locations, please visit: