Drug dropoff program set for Saturday in Dunkirk

The city of Dunkirk Police Department, WCA Alstar Ambulance, police departments from the villages of Fredonia and Westfield, SUNY Fredonia Police and the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Department, in cooperation with the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, are coordinating National Prescription Drug Dropoff Day on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

WCA Alstar Services has again provided its north headquarters as a site for a drive-in dropoff location at its location on Orchard Street behind School 3 at Route 60 in the city. Prescriptions can be dropped off with no questions asked.

“This is a very important program because any unused or expired prescription medications are public safety issues leading to accidental poisoning, overdose and abuse. In many states deaths from prescription drugs now exceed those from motor vehicle accidents, with opiate painkillers like Vicodin, Percocet and Oxycontin leading abuse,” said Dunkirk Police Chief David Ortolano. “In 2010 it was reported that the number of people seeking treatment for painkiller addiction had increased 400 percent within the last 10 years.”

According to Ortolano, a 2009 report said 10 percent of grade 12 students had used pharmaceutical painkillers for non-medical purposes. The report also showed 62 percent of teenagers using prescription drugs got them from family and friends, including medicine cabinets in their homes. In addition, unintentional overdose deaths from prescription opiods increased 175 percent over a 5-year period.

“Proper disposal of unused or expired prescription drugs can eliminate temptation for abuse and the temptation for them to be stolen from a residence,” Ortolano said. “The proper disposal also does not affect the environment which can happen if they are flushed into sewer systems. Most importantly, proper disposal can help lower the death rate related to overdose and abuse, especially in our children and young adults.”

The Alstar Ambulance facility on Orchard Street in the city can be accessed from Route 60 or Monroe Street.

“Please take the time to empty your shelves and cabinets of unused and expired prescription drugs and bring them to the drop-off point,” Ortolano stated. “Again, this will be a drive in and drop off with no questions asked.”