Congressman Dan Donovan and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis are calling on the NYPD to expand to every police precinct a drug take back initiative started by the two legislators.
In 2014, Donovan — then the Richmond County District Attorney — and Malliotakis teamed up to purchase prescription drug drop boxes for each of Staten Island’s police precincts. The 68th Precinct and 61st Precinct have participated in similar the initiatives.
Through the Staten Island program, residents were able to drop off unused prescription drugs at any precinct in the borough at any time, no questions asked. In the 18 months since the boxes were installed, more than 68 cubic feet – tens of thousands of pills – have been safely deposited, keeping them off the streets.
“Too many parents have buried their sons or daughters. It’s time for a concerted push from every level of government to take back our children’s future. Staten Island’s drop box program has been an enormous success – I hope the NYPD can quickly act on this common-sense solution, ” said Donovan.
Prescription drug abuse often gives way to heroin addiction. According to a recent survey, 75 percent of heroin users were introduced using prescription drugs. Further, the CDC says that people who are dependent on prescription painkillers are 40 times more likely to abuse heroin.
At the federal level, Donovan will continue working toward comprehensive action in the House to provide the resources necessary for education, treatment, and enforcement.
At the state level, Malliotakis recently joined her Assembly colleagues in unveiling their “Heroin Elimination & Prevention (HELP) Plan,” derived from community input gathered from seven forums held across the state. She has been working to change a New York State law that allows drug dealers convicted of multiple felonies to be sent to drug treatment diversion programs instead of mandatory jail sentences.
“The prescription drug drop box program has proven to be a successful tool in the ongoing war against drug addiction in our community,” said Malliotakis. “It’s an easy, no-questions-asked way to safely remove prescription drugs from medicine cabinets and out of the reach of those who might abuse them. The Drug Enforcement Agency’s annual drug take-back day is just not enough. Expanding the drop-off program citywide will ensure that more highly-addictive opioids can be taken off the streets 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”