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How your unused medications go up in flames to prevent drug addiction

It is the place where your trash and recycling is brought each week. But inside Covanta, something unique is happening too. “Since we’ve started this program, we’ve received over 7,000 pounds over the past 4 years, so it’s been very successful,” said Kathleen Carroll of Covanta.

Unused medications are taken to a 12-acre facility in Jamesville each month where they are tossed into a feed chute and burned. “Let’s get those out of the hands of the wrong people. So by storing it in your medicine cabinet when it’s unwanted, expired whatever is just encouraging someone to take it,” said Gail Banach, Director of Public Education and Communication at the Upstate Poison Center.

Banach says the SNAAD program (Sharps, Needles and Drug disposal) began in the fall of 2015 when bath salts were ravaging Upstate New York. As synthetic marijuana and now opioids led to a new drug crisis, Banach says the program is more important than ever. “As we always say, there will always be a crisis. It will just be the drug of choice that changes,” Banach said.

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