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Prescription drug dropoffs important for opioid crisis

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    Judge John Nichols swears in Town Supervisor Pat Grattan.
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    Judge John Nichols swears in Sally Hogan as her husband Sean and son Ethan look on.
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    Judge John Nichols swears in Town Justice Lisa Mills as her daughter looks on.
January 11, 2018 03:38 pm Updated: January 11, 2018 03:39 pm

 

KINDERHOOK — Three Kinderhook officials took the oath of office as the town board opened business in 2018.

New Town Councilwoman Sally Hogan was sworn in, along with Justice Lisa Mills and Town Supervisor Pat Grattan. Deputy Town Supervisor Patrice Leader was also supposed to be sworn in, but she was absent from the meeting due to illness.

“I’ve been a spectator of our town board meetings and it was so different to be part of it. What a privilege and honor to be voted in by the people in our town,” Hogan said. “We had a supportive crowd for the swearing-in ceremony. I look forward to hearing out the people in our town and enacting changes with our town board that will benefit the future of Kinderhook.”

The other item on the agenda was approving the installment of prescription drug take-back boxes at the Valatie Hannaford as part of the state’s Pilot Pharmaceutical Take-Back Program. The Hannaford is the only store so far to opt into the program.

“I really thank Hannaford for taking the initiative to go ahead and put those boxes to take the syringes and unused drugs,” Grattan said. “They should be thanked and I think it’s a good thing for the community.”

Town officials stressed how this program will help combat the heroin and opioid epidemic by making it more convenient for citizens to dispose their medications properly.

“A lot of people have prescriptions in their house that have been there forever, that they don’t even know what they’re for. They have people come into their house and they have had them be taken,” Leader said Tuesday. “This way we can actually get rid of what is not supposed to be there.”

The program was passed by the state Legislature in 2017 and is run through the state Department of Environmental Conservation. There has long been documented negative impact to the environment by not disposing of medications properly.

“Expired, unwanted and unused pharmaceutical drugs require proper disposal in order to prevent unintended environmental harm. Studies have detected widespread drug contamination in water,” Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee Chairman Steve Englebright said. “This pilot program will help keep these contaminants out of our water. It is always less expensive to prevent pollution than to have to pay to clean it up.”

The program is fully funded by DEC for the first two years and will officially begin to accept medications in April 2018. After the initial two years, it will become Hannaford’s responsibility.

Hogan praised the Valatie Hannaford, but stressed the need for more participants. According to the state, 80 retail pharmacies, hospitals and long-term care facilities across the state have participated in the first round of the pilot program.

“Let’s see if we can get more businesses in the area to take initiative to do the same. Retail pharmacies, hospitals, and long-term care facilities can enroll online. The pilot program is open and is accepting applications on DEC’s website or at. On.ny.gov/rxpilot.”