STATEN ISLAND — In an attempt to curb the high rates of prescription drug abuse across the borough, all of Staten Island's police precincts are being outfitted with 24 hour lockboxes where people can safely discard their unused pills, officials announced.
Beginning next month, all NYPD precincts in the borough — 120, 121, 122 and 123 — will have permanent, lockable drop-off boxes where residents can bring their pills to keep them away from potential abusers, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis and District Attorney Dan Donovan announced Wednesday.
"Every bottle of pills that’s delivered to these boxes is one less bottle that can hurt someone and his or her family," Malliotakis said in a statement. "Whether they remain in your medicine cabinet or are tossed in the trash, they pose the threat of getting in the hands of those they were not prescribed for."
The boxes come amid a prescription drug epidemic in the borough, which had the highest rate of overdoses from opioids in the city in 2012, according to the Department of Health.
From 2005 to 2009, fatalities linked to prescription drug abuse shot up 147 percent in Staten Island, nearly double the rate in the rest of the city, according to the attorney general.
The drop-offs, which were recently introduced in Brooklyn's 68th Precinct, will be available 24 hours a day, organizers said.
"These lockable drop-off boxes will present Staten Islanders with a safe and secure way to properly dispose of unused prescription pills," Donovan said in a statement.
"Ensuring that prescription pills don’t end up in the wrong hands is a top priority as we continue to combat drug abuse."