BP Oddo began by explaining the initiative, which helps Staten Islanders safely dispose of unneeded prescription drugs. The program encourages parents to clean out their medicine cabinets of unused medications and bring them to drop box centers at their local precincts. The goal is to prevent children from experimenting with prescription drugs, which all too often leads to addiction.
“We want to encourage Staten islanders to discard expired drugs or medications that are not being used,” said BP Oddo. “We want them to get rid of them.”
The program is an offshoot of the successful “Too Good For Drugs” program, which was piloted in five Staten Island schools this year. If parents bring their children when they drop off their drugs, the children will be rewarded with Too Good For Drugs placards, which they can present to their school principals for recognition. Involving children in a positive way empowers the students and parents to be a part of the solution to Staten Island’s drug epidemic.
The initiative is an extension of the NYPD’s Found Controlled Substance procedure. The procedure allows people who discover illicit substances in their homes to voluntarily turn the drugs in to a police station without their family members getting in trouble.
“It is critical to develop yet more ways to reach the family members of active addicts. They are suffering in silence, fear, and shame and require a special or concerted effort to engage and break the cycle,” noted Executive Director of Camelot Counseling Center Luke Nasta.
Superintendent Lodico then spoke about the importance of school involvement in curbing prescription drug abuse. “It truly is work that has to be done as a community,” he said. He acknowledged that this program is only the beginning, and said that he looks forward to continued engagement in anti-drug initiatives.
Adrienne Abbate then asserted the essential nature of the initiative. She explained how the majority of youth who have experimented with prescription drugs report that they found them at home. It is essential to break this cycle because, as Abbate said, “people addicted to painkillers are 40 times more likely to get addicted to heroin.”
The good news, according to Jacqueline Filis, is that these anti-addiction programs have been working. Thanks to the dedicated efforts of our Borough’s leaders and the cooperation of our community, “Overdose deaths are decreasing. Kids delay experimentation. There are less kids using drugs,” she said.
“We realized early on that our role at Borough Hall was to focus on students,” BP Oddo said. “Ed Delatorre is the driving force behind this. he’s been a tremendous partner and asset to the community.”