[Pharmwaste] 686 people drop off 1300# meds at three sites in Tompkins County, NY

Ed Gottlieb egottlieb at cityofithaca.org
Tue May 1 14:19:42 EDT 2012

Safe Medication Collection--Summary of Results for April 28, 2012
Coalition for Safe Medication Disposal (CSMD)
For our fifth collection event, we had three sites in Tompkins County,
N.Y. that joined the DEA’s National Take-Back Initiative.
This was our first time working with the DEA.  Outreach listed all
three sites as a single, coordinated collection event.  The results were
Number of participants:
Groton 70
Slaterville 101
Ithaca 515
County Total = 686 in four hours (previous record: 509 in 6 hours)
This huge turnout led to our only problem.  Past events took only five
minutes from entry to exit.
At this event there were some crunch times in the morning, with waits
of up to twenty minutes.
Pounds collected:
Groton 120.0
Slaterville 204.8
Ithaca 984.6
County Total= just over 1300.
Number of controlled doses collected was more than 22,000 (previous
record was 16,629.)
Data on the doses dispensed was collected from bottles with intact
labels (610).  The percentage unused was calculated by dividing the
doses received by the doses dispensed.  In some cases, this percent was
>100, likely the result of patients combining the contents of different
bottles of the same medication.  After lowering all numbers >100 to 100,
the average percent unused was 65.
I recall a much lower percent unused being cited in at least one study.
 If you have collected data on this or happen to recall any papers on
the topic I would very much like to hear from you.  Thank you!
Survey participation was, as usual, very high.  The results were in
line with previous events.  Some totals can be >100% because more than
one answer was accepted.
1. First time attendees = 66% (same as last event)
2. Heard about event from:
     Newspaper post-it ad or story, 53%;
     Radio PSA / interview, 19%;
     Banner, 18%
3. What would you have done w/meds if not for event?
     Continue to hold on to them, 55%
     Throw them in the trash, 23%
4. Why are you getting rid of them?
     Expired, 66%
     Stopped using/don’t need, 48%
5. Where do you live?
     Responses roughly correspond to the population of the various
towns & villages in the county.
     Out of county = 2.6%
If the DEA continues to hold collections, I will send them my
1. Though it only was settled a few days ahead of the 28th, we were
quite pleased that the DEA agreed to pick-up from us on Monday following
the event.  This allowed us time to complete our inventory of controlled
2. One of our collection sites was not in their event locator data base
a couple of days before the event (and may have not made it there at
all), despite multiple requests to get it listed.
3. Promotional material (11 x 17 Spanish language posters (w/event
date) and small fliers (both English & Spanish, no date) arrived on
Wednesday, just days before the event.  Only a few got posted.  We would
have liked to have had them two or three weeks sooner.
Ed Gottlieb
Chair, Coalition for Safe Medication Disposal
Industrial Pretreatment Coordinator
Ithaca Area Wastewater Treatment Facility
525 3rd Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
(607) 273-8381
fax: (607) 273-8433
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