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From the Office of the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Gale R. Burstein 

Date: June 26, 2019 


CONTACT: Kara Kane, Public Information Officer

Email: kara.kane@erie.gov 

Phone: (716) 858-4941   



Partnership with Erie and Niagara Counties expands access to safe medication disposal sites as part of response to opioid epidemic

ERIE COUNTY, NY – In coordination with the Erie County Department of Health, drug and needle disposal kiosks have been installed at Kaleida Health facilities in Erie and Niagara Counties.


As part of a system-wide initiative by Kaleida Health, four new sites have been added to a roster of more than 30 locations where Erie County residents can discard unused and expired prescription and over-the-counter medication, and needles and sharps in a safe and secure manner. Several dozen other locations, including all branches of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, have community disposal kiosks that accept used needles and sharps.


The Erie County Department of Health placed kiosks this spring at Buffalo General Medical Center, John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital and Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital in Erie County, and DeGraff Memorial Hospital in Niagara County. The Erie County Sheriff’s Office and Niagara County Sheriff’s Office transport the contents of these kiosks to Covanta Energy, where the medications are incinerated.


In 2018, 26,500 pounds of drugs were destroyed safely in this process by Covanta Energy, which provides this service free-of-charge for eight counties in western New York. Needles and sharps are disposed of through a regulated medical waste hauler using ESAP (Expanded Syringe Access Project) funding provided by the New York State Department of Health. So far in 2019, the total weight of disposed drugs has been 18,890 pounds.


“The disposal kiosks placed at Kaleida sites and throughout our community are a valuable public service and part of Erie County’s response to the opiate epidemic,” said Erie County Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein. “This program makes it convenient for residents to keep these drugs out of our water supplies and landfills, and is one way that we are decreasing opportunities for prescription medications to get into the hands of youth.”


“Medication and syringe drop boxes are a safe and convenient way for our patients, visitors and staff members to dispose of expired, unused, or unwanted medications like antibiotics, prescription painkillers and over-the-counter medicines,” said David Hughes, MD, EVP and Chief Medical Officer at Kaleida Health.  “We are proud to join the Erie and Niagara County Sheriff’s Offices, local law enforcement, the Erie County Department of Health and others as we work together to help reduce substance abuse in our community and keep our patients, community and environment safe and healthy.”


“Since embarking on this project in 2013, the Erie County Sheriff’s Office and its partners have collected a countless number of pills and a large number of needles,” stated Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard. “We have placed numerous drop boxes throughout this county, and all these efforts are culminating in fewer prescription drugs on the streets, more needles disposed of properly and less opportunity for prescription drugs to fall into the wrong hands.  I look forward to our new partnership with Kaleida Health and to providing more safe and secure boxes where people can dispose of unwanted medications and needles.”



Searchable map of drug and needle disposal kiosks: ThePointNY.org

Erie County Opiate Epidemic Task Force: http://www2.erie.gov/health/index.php?q=opiate-epidemic-task-force

24-hour Crisis Services Addiction Hotline: (716) 831-7007
Erie County Free Community Trainings on Opioid Overdose Recognition and Narcan Use for Reversal: http://www.erie.gov/opioidtrainings