Safeguarding Seniors: ‘Shred & Med’ offered at annual Senior Picnic

Broome County Executive Jason Garnar announces the June 21 Shred & Med event.

Do you have expired medication gathering dust in your medicine cabinet? How about papers with your Social Security number or other identifying information that you would like to get rid of, but feel insecure about tossing in the recycling?

Area seniors are welcome to safely dispose of unwanted prescription medications and personal papers for free at Shred & Med, a senior safety event that will coincide with the annual Senior Picnic & Fun fest June 21 on the SUNY Broome campus.

Shred & Med runs from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. The event is sponsored by the Broome County Family Violence Prevention Council’s Elder Abuse Prevention Committee, working on promoting a “Home Safe Home.”

“Unfortunately, senior citizens are usually targeted because they are more likely to possess prescription drugs and unable to defend themselves from an attack,” said Broome County Executive Jason Garnar.

This is the third Shred & Med event the county has conducted in recent months, said Janette Cyganovich, coordinator of the Broome County Family Violence Prevention Council. Other events were held at the Northern Broome Senior Center in Whitney Point and at the Broome West Senior Center in Endwell.

For the shredding component, each person is limited to one bag or box of papers, such as medical records, bank statements and other personal documents. Please do not bring any items containing metal, plastic or cardboard.

Dr. Battisti speaks at the announcement of Broome County’s Shred & Med event.

Needles will not be accepted as part of the medication disposal. Medication brought for disposal will ultimately be incinerated at a facility in Oswego, said Broome County Sheriff David Harder. Seniors or other members of the public who need to dispose of medication can also use the blue drop box in the Broome County Sheriff’s Office foyer.

Disposing of medications properly also has environmental implications, noted SUNY Broome Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer Francis Battisti. The temptation may be to flush pills down the toilet, but that can pose problems down the line – especially considering that Binghamton residents get their drinking water from the Susquehanna River.

“Where there is a complex filtration process involved before that water comes out of your tap, we are all a vital part of the effort to keep our river clean,” he said.