BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo Police Department is
the first police agency in Western New York and the first
university in New York State to place a permanent "drop box" in
their police department headquarters for citizens to safely dispose
of expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs.
"The University at Buffalo has been participating in the
national take-back-prescription-drug days for several years," said
UB Police Chief Gerald W. Schoenle. "However, we wanted to provide
a safe and secure place where our community members could go at any
time to dispose of these drugs and not wait months for a special
UB's round-the-clock collection site will be at UB Police
headquarters in Bissell Hall on the North Campus. UB Police expect
to set up a second site on UB's South Campus later this spring.
Prescription drug abuse in the United States is increasing at
alarming rates, especially for young adults who report they can
easily obtain prescription pills from medicine cabinets in their
own and other people's homes.
UB Police started looking into this type of program after
Schoenle saw a demonstration at the International Chiefs of Police
(IACP) Conference last year. The presentation was made by the
MedReturn, which sells the secure Drug Collection Units.
MedReturn has many units throughout the country. To be eligible
for a unit, an agency must comply with certain legal requirements.
UB's participation is a collaboration between UB Police, the UB
School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, the Student Health
Center, the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning and
the Erie County Department of Health.
Frank Scarpinato of the Erie County Department of Environment
and Planning hopes that other police departments throughout Erie
County will soon follow the lead set by UB.
Cheryll Moore, community coalition coordinator for the Erie
County Department of Health, helped UB Police to also obtain a
Sharps collection box, provided by the Health Department, for the
collection of hypodermic needles.
Local Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officials have
scheduled another National Prescription Drug Take Back Day from 10
a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 28. Collection sites, including
those on the UB campuses, will be announced in March.
Americans who participated in the DEA's third National
Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, held last Oct. 29, turned in more
than 377,086 pounds (188.5 tons) of unwanted or expired medications
for safe and proper disposal at the 5,327 take-back sites available
in all 50 states and U.S. territories.
"The students and faculty from our school have been working on
drug disposal programs with the DEA for several years," said Karl
Fiebelkorn, associate dean at UB's School of Pharmacy and
Inspector Daniel Jay, commander of the UB Police Criminal
Investigation section, is coordinating this project for UB Police.
UB Police investigators will be responsible for the drug and needle
"Prescription drug abuse is a major problem on college
campuses," said Jay. "This is a new way to dispose of your unused
or unwanted medication in a legal safe manner. This new program
will take drug disposal efforts to a new level."
Schoenle spoke with Gil Kerlikowske, U.S. director of National
Drug Control Policy, about this program when he was at UB in
October. Kerlikowske expressed his support of UB's proposed
program, noting that proposed legislation will allow other sites to
collect prescription drugs besides law enforcement agencies.
"We anticipate that several other police agencies will take up
this very worthwhile initiative," Schoenle said. "Not only does
this program help with the prescription drug abuse problem, it is
also in keeping with UB's Green initiatives in keeping drugs out of
our landfills and waterways."