The Hamilton Area Community Coalition and the Hamilton Police Department are proud to announce the grand opening of Hamilton’s new prescription drug disposal dropbox! Located in the front entrance of the Hamilton Police Dept, 5121 Wings Way, Hamilton, the dropbox is accessible 24/7, 365 days a year.
HACC hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening, which included distinguished guests Rep. Claudia Tenney, U.S. Congress, a staff member from NY Assemblyman Bill Magee’s office, and Mayor RuthAnn Loveless; as well as Hamilton Police Chief Shawn Stassi, SOMAC Director of Operations, Kyle Sylvester; National Guard Counterdrug Task Force SPC. Josh Banick, HACC Program Coordinator, Melissa Cassulis, Hamilton Police Sgt. Matt Janczuk, Hamilton Police Officer Michael Mordus, Jr.; Letta Palmer, Colgate Campus Safety; Rev. Taylor Jackson; and Susan Figueroa.
The dropbox is a perfect illustration of what can be accomplished when federal, state, and local leaders work together. The project started in October as a simple conversation between National Guard Counterdrug Specialist, Josh Banick, and Hamilton Police Sergeant, Matt Janczuk. “I asked Sgt. Janczuk if Hamilton had ever considered opening a dropbox,” says Bannick, “And it just got the ball rolling from there.” The men, both members of the HACC, met at Hamilton Central School while they waited to take the stage for a Red Ribbon Week drug prevention assembly organized by the group. A few weeks later, the HACC and Hamilton Police Dept. ordered the DropBox through the NY State Health Dept. Now, over ten months later, the box is securely installed and ready to collect excess medication in the community.
“People often see headlines about the opioid epidemic, and wonder what they can do. This is what we can do,” says Cassulis. “Removing excess medicine from your home is the most effective way to reduce prescription drug and opioid misuse. It may seem like a small thing, but the most common access point for those misusing these substances is the home medicine cabinet.”
Hamilton was honored to have Rep. Claudia Tenney attend the opening, and represent the partnership between the federal government and the work of the HACC. “The HACC is funded under a federal Drug Free Communities (DFC) grant, which is approved annually by Congress. The DFC model has been recognized nationally as so successful in reducing youth substance abuse, that not only did Congress re-approve funding for the program, this year they also increased the funding, allowing even more communities like ours to benefit from local prevention initiatives,” says Melissa Cassulis, HACC Program Coordinator. “The HACC thanks Rep. Tenney for the continued bi-partisan congressional support of the Drug Free Communities program.”
Along with reducing access to prescription medication, responsible medicine disposal also significantly reduces the risk of accidental poisoning and prevents environmental contamination. The new dropbox will provide a full-time and convenient disposal option, a long-standing need in the Hamilton community. Special thanks to Hamilton Police Chief Shawn Stassi for spearheading the project and overseeing secure installation.
For more information on prescription drug safety, visit hamiltoncoalition.com or follow the HACC on Facebook/HamiltonAreaCommunityCoalition.