Keeping Unwanted Drugs Out Of The Wrong Hands

By Senator Patty Ritchie
Long before I became a State Senator, I was aware of the growing substance abuse problems in our region.

In the years since, we have seen illegal drugs not only become a crisis in our communities, but they have greatly affected our families, friends and neighbors.

Most of the focus of this drug problem has been on opioids and heroin, and rightly so.

These drugs are not only ruining lives, they are taking lives.

Heroin and opioid abuse is an issue I will continue to prioritize, as just this year I helped advocate for a record $247 million investment to fight back.

However, the presence of drugs in our region are not limited to these two killers.

Legal prescription drugs, ending up in the wrong hands is having a similar impact on families.

That is why after becoming a State Senator, I looked into hosting drug take back events I would eventually call “Shed the Meds.”

I have hosted them for several years now, throughout our region.

This spring alone, I teamed up with local hospitals, community groups and law enforcement agencies to collect nearly 400 pounds of unwanted or expired medications.

That is 400 pounds of medications that will not end up in the hands of people they were never intended for.

Throughout the years, I have also collected hundreds of pounds of these prescription drugs at my local Senior Health and Wellness Fairs.

We have collected and properly disposed of well more than 1,000 pounds throughout the years.

In addition to keeping these drugs out of the wrong hands, their proper disposal also protects our drinking water and the environment from when they end up flushed down a toilet.

It is these efforts and their results that make me so happy to see New York State officially pass a drug take back law.

Under the new Drug Take Back Act, not only are we expanding the number of permanent, local prescription drug drop-off locations across the state, we are saving taxpayers money at the same time.

This law requires drug makers to pay for the cost of the take back program, which includes the collection and disposal of the drugs and ensuring pharmacies have drop boxes and pre-paid envelopes for legal consumers.

Over the years, it has been amazing to see so many people understand the importance of the proper disposal of their prescription drugs and now that New York State is on board, I feel we are on the right track to putting a major dent in our battles to end our drug problem and protect our environment.

I am now eager to see just how much this new law will aid in New York State’s effort to curb drug abuse.

I also hope you will consider taking part in this very important program.


  1. We are currently in the middle of forming a Non-Profit in Fulton to create a Center focused on working with other Physicians, Practitioners, Agencies to provide drug free solutions to illnesses and indoor leisure.
    We would love your help in the support of this movement and also host some of these events.
    As we all know the stigma related to addiction, particularly the separation of different drugs/substances/behaviors is largely part of the epidemic. Please contact me immediately to help in the planning of this. Thanks

  2. this is one of those issues Republicans latch onto to try and appear humane … as they continue to serve corporate interests, continue to support perpetual war, continue to pursue policies exacerbating inequality and social misery …

    does Patty or any regional Republican support Medicare for All? does Patty or any regional Republican want to raise taxes and regulations of Wall Street oligarchs? does Patty or any regional Republican want to end the U.S. policy of perpetual war and global empire? [does Patty or any regional Republican acknowledge that the explosion in heroin abuse happens to coincide with the U.S. war in Afghanistan, the world’s leading poppy producer?]

    and why do so many Americans turn to drug addiction? does the corporate ravaging of the American working class for the past 40 years, another Republican (and corporate Democratic) project, have anything to do with it?

    The Republican position amounts to: we’re going to redistribute even more wealth to the rich, we’re going to deny healthcare coverage to tens of millions of our citizens in order to maximize corporate profits, we’re going to perpetually send our soldiers abroad to conduct horrific foreign wars (and then wonder why veteran suicide, depression, PTSD, and drug use is on the rise) … but we’re really trying to do something about drug addiction! Uh huh.

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