New state law requires pharmacies to accept unused drugs

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EAST MEADOW -

A new law aims to prevent overdoses and drug abuse by requiring pharmacies to take back old and unused drugs.

The Drug Take Back Act goes into effect in the new year. Pharmacies in the state will need to provide customers with a way to drop off their unused prescription medications at all times. The manufacturer is required to cover the cost of the program.

State Sen. Kemp Hannon, who sponsored the bill, says the intent is to cut down on misuse -- and to protect the water supply from old drugs being washed away.

"We are fortunate to live in a state where leadership understands the magnitude of this crisis," Hannon says.

Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds, with the Family and Children's Association, says 600 Long Islanders lost their lives to overdose last year. He says 70 percent of addicts started with medication that was left in a medicine cabinet.

"We've always said it ought to be as easy to dispose of these meds as it is to get them, given the potential for abuse and deterrents. This law makes it a reality," says Dr. Reynolds.

Some pharmacies on Long Island, like the CVS in East Meadow, started offering medication disposal bins a few months ago, ahead of the new law's implementation.

Residents can also drop off prescription pills at any Nassau or Suffolk police precinct.

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