Health Department Announces Support For Walgreens Program To Provide Safe Medication Disposal Kiosks In New York City

Kiosks will be available at 22 Walgreens drugstores throughout the five boroughs

This is the first retail pharmacy-based medication drop box program in the city

November 4, 2016 – The Health Department today announced its support for Walgreens as it launches its safe medication disposal kiosk program in New York City, with the installation of drug take-back kiosks at 22 Walgreens drugstores citywide. The launch represents the first non-law enforcement safe disposal program in the city. Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett joined Walgreens Regional Vice President Paul Zagami at a Brooklyn store to kick off the drug disposal program in New York City. The kiosks provide a safe and convenient way to dispose of unwanted, unused or expired prescriptions, including controlled substances, and over-the-counter medications at no cost year-round.

“As the opioid epidemic grows in New York City and across the country, we will continue to adopt solutions that reduce access to opioids and the risk of overdose,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “Offering New Yorkers an easy way to safely dispose of medications is one component of a citywide effort to prevent overdose deaths. In addition to offering lifesaving medication, such as naloxone, the de Blasio administration has committed an unprecedented level of support to support our communities and provide a path to recovery.” 

“By making safe medication disposal kiosks available in select stores thought New York, Walgreens is taking an important first step to curb the misuse of medications throughout the country,” said Paul Zagami, Walgreens Regional Vice President in New York. “As a pharmacy, we are committed to playing a role in what must be a comprehensive solution to prevent prescription drug and opioid abuse.”

"We applaud Walgreens for establishing a prescription drop-off program, which helps New Yorkers safely dispose of medications and reduces the risk of prescription painkiller misuse in New York City. Along with its participation in the NYC pharmacy-naloxone program, which makes naloxone available without a prescription to New Yorkers, Walgreens demonstrates how pharmacies can help turn the tide on the opioid overdose epidemic. Walgreens, along with more than 740 other chain and independent pharmacies dispense naloxone without a prescription in NYC," said Dr. Hillary Kunins, Assistant Commissioner for the Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Use Prevention, Care and Treatment.

Safe medication disposal kiosks are currently available in more than 500 Walgreens pharmacies across 35 states and Washington, D.C. The kiosks are available during regular pharmacy hours (24 hours a day at most kiosk locations) and offer one of the best ways to ensure medications are not accidentally used or intentionally misused by someone else.

“I thank Walgreens and DOHMH Commissioner Bassett for their shared commitment to advancing Brooklyn as a safer place to raise healthy children and families,” said Borough President Eric Adams. “Providing easily accessible drop boxes for expired, unused, or unwanted prescriptions is a meaningful step to combating the substance abuse public health crisis that is endangering our city and our country.”

“When New Yorkers safely dispose of old and unused medication through events like these, they make their homes safer and they lower the risk of drug abuse in their household,” said Council Member Corey Johnson, Chair of the Committee on Health. “With 23 locations participating, this event makes it easy for New Yorkers to clean out their medicine cabinets and create a healthier home. I commend Duane Reade/Walgreens and our outstanding Department of Health for teaming up on this important initiative.”

“I commend Duane Reade/Walgreens on the launch of 16 drug take-back kiosks in New York City today,” said Council Member Andrew Cohen, Chair of the Council’s Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, Alcoholism, Drug Abuse and Disability Services. “These kiosks will give city residents the ability to safely dispose of dangerous medications they no longer need.  I am pleased that one is located in my council district and encourage all New Yorkers to take advantage of a kiosk at their local Duane Reade/Walgreens store. ” 

“Today, Walgreens is demonstrating what it means to be a valued community partner. By launching the Safe Medication Disposal Kiosk program, consumers have a responsible and convenient way to dispose of controlled substances. As the country and our City seeks ways to combat the escalating opioid abuse epidemic, I am grateful for this effort to keep dangerous drugs away children and I’m proud to help launch this initiative in my District,” said Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr.

“All too often we forget about our medications which can easily fall into the hands of our children when left unattended and negatively impact our environment when disposed of improperly,” said State Senator Velmanette Montgomery. “I applaud Walgreens for partnering with the city to ensure we have a simple yet effective way to safely dispose of prescription drugs.”
Overdose and substance misuse are a public health crisis. More Americans die every day from drug overdoses than from motor vehicle crashes.  According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, almost 15 million Americans misused a prescription drug in 2014. In New York City, 937 people died of an unintentional drug overdose in 2015, up from 800 in 2014. Eighty percent of those deaths involved an opioid, including heroin and prescription opioid painkillers.

In December 2015, the Health Department partnered with New York City pharmacies to make naloxone available without a prescription. Naloxone reverses overdoses from prescription painkillers and heroin, preventing death when administered by a bystander, including by friends and family members. Walgreens, along with more than 740 other chain and independent pharmacies dispense naloxone without a prescription in NYC.

Having easily accessible medication drop boxes, along with naloxone available without a prescription in NYC pharmacies throughout the city, is a valuable addition to other Health Department opioid overdose prevention strategies, including increasing access to medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction, raising public awareness, and promoting judicious prescription painkiller prescribing.

In addition to offering a year-round solution for individuals to dispose of their medications, Walgreens continues to participate in Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) sponsored National Prescription Drug Take Back Days, serving as a collection point in communities for law enforcement to collect unwanted, unused or expired medications for safe disposal. The company is also collaborating with the American Pharmacists Association Institute on Alcoholism and Drug Dependencies to continue to offer a substance abuse education program for pharmacists and student pharmacists.

States where Walgreens’ Safe Medication Disposal Program has been implemented:
Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin

The 22 New York Walgreens with Safe Medication Disposal Kiosks:

5564 Broadway

114 Beverley Rd
1281 Fulton St
296 Flatbush Ave

Elmhurst 8420 Broadway
Flushing 13602 Roosevelt Ave
Forest Hills 10716 71st Ave
Jackson Heights 7301 37th Ave
Jamaica 12704 Guy R Brewer Blvd

40 Wall St
52 E 14th St
71 W 23rd St
155 E 34th St
51 W 51st St
949 3rd Ave
2522 Broadway
1279 3rd Ave
2864 Broadway
1231 Madison Ave
1498 York Ave
353 W. 57th St. Frnt 2

Staten Island
1551 Richmond Ave

About Walgreens
Walgreens (, one of the nation's largest drugstore chains, is included in the Retail Pharmacy USA Division of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (NASDAQ: WBA), the first global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise. More than 8 million customers interact with Walgreens each day in communities across America, using the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice. Walgreens operates 8,173 drugstores with a presence in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Walgreens omnichannel business includes and More than 400 Walgreens stores offer Healthcare Clinic or other provider retail clinic services.



Christopher Miller/Julien Martinez
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