A Big Red Med Disposal Box, located at the Montauk Police Precinct at 8 South Embassy Street, is now officially open to the public. Sponsored by Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, the DEA-approved box provides a safe and free way to get rid of unwanted or expired prescriptions and over-the-counter medications.
After both Montauk Citizens Action Committee (CAC) and Concerned Citizens of Montauk (CCOM) reached out to the East Hampton Town Police Department about placing a medication disposal box in Montauk, the proposal received support from Councilperson Sylvia Overby and was approved by the East Hampton Town Board.
“This is an opportunity to dispose of any type of medication whether it is prescribed or over-the-counter in a responsible way,” Councilperson Overby stated. “Having a location in Montauk is an important step in keeping un-used or out of date drugs from the possibility of being used or disposed of improperly.”
The Big Red Med Disposal Box offers an environmentally safe way to discard the medications, as opposed to throwing them down drain pipes, toilets, or in the garbage, which can contaminate water and landfill.
Sergeant Kenneth Alversa of the East Hampton Town Police Department and Tom McAbee of the Lloyd Magothy Water Trust worked to secure the receptacle and the Stony Brook Southampton Hospital sponsorship.
“We are proud to assist in this program,” said Sgt. Alversa. “By providing residents with a safe means of disposing of unused medications that needlessly linger in household medicine cabinets, we can help keep old prescriptions out of the hands of small children and teens, while also protecting our water from being contaminated by improper disposal.”
By securely gathering these unused medications, including prescription opioids, the Med Disposal Box also aids in preventing drug abuse.
Once deposited, the East Hampton Town Police Department will take control of the amassed medications, secure them in a special bag, and then take them to the Covanta MacArthur Waste-to-Energy facility in Ronkonkoma where a “witness burn” – which the officer documents – takes place. During the “witness burn,” the medications are incinerated at 1,800 degrees F. until they turn to inert ash.
The red disposal box will be accessible during Montauk Precinct business hours, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
In addition to the Montauk medication disposal box, Stony Brook Southampton Hospital also sponsors a medication disposal box at the Southampton Village Police Department and another at the Sag Harbor Pharmacy (120 Main Street, Sag Harbor).