Med Disposals for Montauk

Sgt. Kenneth Alversa of the town police demonstrated last week how easy it is to get rid of unwanted medications in the Montauk police precinct’s new Big Red Med Disposal Box. With him were, from left, Dr. Michael Genereux of Meeting House Lane Medical Practice, Councilwoman Sylvia Overby, and Tom McAbee, executive director of Big Red Med. Stony Brook Southampton Hospital

Montauk residents who need to get rid of old medications now don’t need to go far. 

A Big Red Med Disposal Box has been placed at the East Hampton Town Police Department’s Montauk precinct on South Embassy Street. The box is Drug Enforcement Administration-approved as safe for disposing of unwanted, unused, or expired prescription and over-the-counter medications — rather than tossing them into the garbage or flushing them down the toilet.

There are already boxes in East Hampton Town, for instance at police headquarters in Wainscott, as well in East Hampton Village and Sag Harbor Village, but none in Montauk until last week. The box at the police station came about thanks to Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, which funded the program after it had been requested by the Montauk Citizens Advisory Committee, the Med Citizens of Montauk, and the town police. 

Councilwoman Sylvia Overby supported the proposal, and Sgt. Ken Alversa worked with Tom McAbee of the Lloyd Magothy Water Trust to provide the receptacle and to gain the sponsorship of the hospital. Operation Big Red Med Disposal Box is a division of that trust, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to responsible medication disposal to prevent prescription drug abuse and the contamination of water. There are 23 such boxes at pharmacies and police departments across Long Island, Massachusetts, Indiana, and Kansas.

“This is an opportunity to dispose of any type of medication, whether it is prescribed or over-the-counter, in a responsible way,” Ms. Overby said in a statement from the hospital. “Having a location in Montauk is an important step in keeping unused or out-of-date drugs from the possibility of being used or disposed of improperly.”

Police have said the Med Disposal Box helps to prevent drug abuse by safely collecting unused medications like prescription opioids. 

“We are proud to assist in this program,” Sergeant Alversa said. “By providing residents with a safe means of disposing of unused medications that needlessly linger in household medicine cabinets, we can help keep old prescriptions out of the hands of small children and teens, while also protecting our water from being contaminated by improper disposal.”

Medications can be dropped in the box during normal business hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The Town Police Department will seal the collected medications in a special bag and transport them to the Covanta MacArthur Waste-to-Energy facility in Ronkonkoma. There “witness burns” are conducted during which police document the incineration of the medications at 1,800 degrees until they are reduced to ash.

Montauk’s is the third medication disposal box sponsored by Stony Brook Southampton Hospital. The others are at the Southampton Village Police Department and the Sag Harbor Pharmacy.