Collections net tons of unused prescription drugs

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In the first three months of 2014, Monroe County collected approximately 1.55 tons, or 3,099 pounds, of unused prescription drugs.

Prescription drug take-backs began a few years ago when reports surfaced that pharmaceutical chemicals were being detected in many water bodies, including the Great Lakes. Improper disposal of unused medication is seen as a major source of the contamination.

Starting with its first drug take-back event in 2010, the county has collected an average of 7.45 tons a year of discarded pharmaceuticals. Based on that average, it collected almost 30 tons of pharmaceuticals over a four-year period. The numbers include the county's two annual take-back events and ongoing collections throughout the year.

But the county isn't the only local government collecting unused drugs. Last week, during the local Sierra Club's annual environmental forum, Brighton Town Board member Louise Novros talked about the results from the town's collection events. Officials have now held seven — they happen every six months — and have brought in more than 3 tons or 6,153 pounds of unused pharmaceuticals, she said.

Monroe County and the Town of Brighton both send the collected drugs to an incinerator in the Niagara Falls area. Law enforcement representatives transport the drugs to that location. 

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