CORNING - The Corning Police Department increased access to safe medication disposal Monday afternoon by installing a new drug collection unit in the police department lobby.

Lt. Kenzie Spaulding said the unit will provide residents with a safe and environmentally responsible way to dispose of unwanted, unused or expired medication, including controlled substances.

The drug collection unit is a part of CVS Health’s Medication Disposal for Safer Communities Program.

“The department received a drug collection unit to help our community safely dispose of unwanted medications, including controlled substances,” said Police Chief Jeff Spaulding. “Our drug collection program will help rid our community of unwanted medications that may otherwise be stolen, diverted, abused or contaminate our water supply by improper disposal.”

Steuben Prevention Coalition Program Coordinator Norman McCumiskey and New York National Guard Counterdrug Task Force SFC Kyle King were key in facilitating the implementation of the drug collection unit donated by CVS Health.

“Our goal is to get (a drug collection unit) at every police department in the county,” McCumiskey said.

Currently drug collection units are local in Canisteo, Hornell, Hammondsport and Corning police departments and work is underway to install a unit at the Painted Post Village Police Department.

"We are pleased to be able to provide this convenient drop-off location for prescription drugs,” said City Manager Mark Ryckman. “It will help reduce the amount of unwanted medications in the community.”

The new drug disposal unit will help to reduce the amount of unneeded medicine in residents’ homes and decrease the potential for prescription drug abuse, which has soared in recent years, especially among teenagers.

More than 70 percent of teenagers say it is easy to get prescription drugs from their parents’ medicine cabinets, according to a Partnership for Drug-Free Kids study, officials said. Proper drug disposal also helps to prevent the contamination of local landfills and water supplies from unused medication.

The Medication Disposal for Safer Communities program has donated more than 800 drug collection units to police departments across the country, which have collected more than 100 metric tons of unwanted medication. 

CVS Health also assists law enforcement by supporting local drug take back events and promoting local drug disposal collection sites. CVS Pharmacy locations have taken part in more than 800 events sponsored by local law enforcement as part of National Drug Take-Back Day.

The Corning Police Department’s new Drug Collection Unit site is open to the public and drugs can be dropped off with no questions asked. Residents can also inquire about the Medication Disposal for Safer Communities Program at the toll free phone number 1-866-559-8830 or visit http://www.cvs.com/content/prescription-drug-abuse.