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Drive-Thru Wellness Event Collects 80 Pounds of Expired Medication

Back row (L to R), Councilwoman Valerie Cartwright, SBU Police Officer Jared King, Joe Bica, and Pete Thompson. PJS Chamber member Jennifer Dzvonar, Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy McGovern, Deputy Meehan, Marissa Miller (SBU Dean of Students), Michelle Schindler (YMCA Family Services), Sal Pitti (Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Civic Association), Front row (L to R), Sgt Carissa Siry & SSG Jessica Alese (National Guard Counterdrug Task Force), Alana Marino (SB IMPACT/SBU Center for Prevention)

On Saturday, October 24, the SBU Center for Prevention and Outreach’s SB IMPACT Coalition partnered with the Town of Brookhaven to provide a drive-thru wellness event. They kicked off Red Ribbon Week, a 10-day drug-free awareness campaign, by offering the community an opportunity to safely dispose of expired prescription drugs. 

Back row (L to R), Councilwoman Valerie Cartwright, SBU Police Officer Jared King, Joe Bica, and Pete Thompson. PJS Chamber member Jennifer Dzvonar, Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy McGovern, Deputy Meehan, Marissa Miller (SBU Dean of Students), Michelle Schindler (YMCA Family Services), Sal Pitti (Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Civic Association), Front row (L to R), Sgt Carissa Siry & SSG Jessica Alese (National Guard Counterdrug Task Force), Alana Marino (SB IMPACT/SBU Center for Prevention)
Back row (L to R): Councilwoman Valerie Cartwright; SBU Police Officers Jared King, Joe Bica and Pete Thompson; PJS Chamber member Jennifer Dzvonar; Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office Deputy McGovern and Deputy Meehan; SBU Dean of Students Marissa Miller; Michelle Schindler, YMCA Family Services; Sal Pitti, Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Civic Association. Front row (L to R): Sgt Carissa Siry and SSG Jessica Alese, National Guard Counterdrug Task Force and Alana Marino, SB IMPACT/SBU Center for Prevention

The event took place at the Port Jefferson Station Chamber of Commerce office housed in an old train car. The clear weather made it easy for community members to drive through, handing in more than 80 pounds of outdated prescription medication without having to leave their vehicle.

“It was a very successful event,” said Alana Marino, College Prevention Coordinator for the Center for Prevention and Outreach. “We were proud to partner with the Town of Brookhaven’s Council District 3, Drug Prevention Coalition, to orchestrate this event. Both our coalitions are passionate about community safety and wellness.”

Every car that came through received a free SBU face mask, hand sanitizer and an SBU environmentally friendly shopping tote. The bags were filled with treats and important reminders about health, safety and recycling, as well as pamphlets with information on local resources such as shelters, food pantries, hot meal programs and crisis care centers. 

Many members of campus and community groups worked together in planning this event, including the YMCA, the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Civic Association and Chamber of Commerce, the National Guard Counterdrug Task Force, SBU UPD Community Relations Team, and the University Office of Government and Community Relations, which also provided the totes. All of these agencies were represented by members who volunteered their time to make this event a safe and successful one. A food drive for Hope House, a haven for people struggling with addiction and crisis, was also represented. 

“It was a really cool event and something we hope to do more of,” said Marino. “We are planning an event for spring and hope to add a vaping take-back as well.”

The coalition is also looking forward to doing more on campus once restrictions have lifted. Meanwhile, they are working on several other initiatives to benefit Stony Brook and its surrounding community. They have plans to work with Three Village schools to do a “Sticker Shock” campaign for the prevention of underage drinking, and they will be partnering with the National Guard’s counterdrug task force to put together a drive-thru Narcan training. Participants will be able to stay in their cars for the training and then pick up their kit afterward. 

The SB IMPACT Coalition group was not only proud of their success, but they were especially pleased to have orchestrated this wellness day event in the midst of a pandemic. The results of their efforts were very gratifying, and they appreciated the community’s willingness to step up to keep others safe. 

Tamara Gregorian, Community Relations

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