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New York launches pharmaceutical take-back program

Under the two-year pilot program, the state Department of Environmental Conservation will purchase medication collection boxes and pay for the disposal of pharmaceuticals collected.(MGN Online graphic)

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- The first group of participants in New York's $2 million medication take-back program have been announced.

Under the two-year pilot program, the state Department of Environmental Conservation will purchase medication collection boxes and pay for the disposal of pharmaceuticals collected.

The goal is to keep pharmaceuticals from getting into waterways and protect public health by getting leftover medications out of homes.

Participants include 80 retail pharmacies, hospitals, and long-term care facilities across the state. They'll officially begin accepting waste medications in April.

Flushed medications have been found in New York lakes, rivers, and streams and can harm fish and other aquatic wildlife.

A national study by the U.S. Geological Survey found low levels of drugs such as antibiotics, hormones, contraceptives, and steroids in 80 percent of rivers and streams tested.

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