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Police in Bergen ready for last-ever National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

Photo Credit: TOP: From National Drug Take Back Day, April 2013 (Fair Lawn PD

PUBLIC SAFETY: Now that the federal government has given authorized pharmacies, hospitals and other facilities the ability to accept unwanted medications for disposal, police departments throughout Bergen County will participate this weekend in the final nationwide Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

The DEA launched the events four years ago because law enforcement agencies were the only ones allowed to collected unwanted prescription drugs.

Before then, most people flushed their unused prescription drugs down the toilet, threw them in the trash, or kept them in the household medicine cabinet. This contaminated the water supply, helped start and feed habits — often for children — and tempted thieves.

Two weeks ago, the DEA published new disposal regulations that expanded the options for routine disposal. As a result, the agency said it “has no plans to sponsor more nationwide take-back days, in order to give authorized collectors the opportunity to provide this valuable service to their communities.”

Citizens can now dispose of their drugs, no questions asked, at DEA-authorized pharmaceutical manufacturers, distributors and reverse distributors, narcotic treatment programs, retail pharmacies and hospitals/clinics with on-site pharmacies.

“All collectors may operate a collection receptacle at their registered location, and collectors with an on-site means of destruction may operate a mail-back program,” the agency said. “Retail pharmacies and hospitals/clinics with an on-site pharmacy may operate collection receptacles at long-term care facilities.”

To find a local collector (DEA Office of Diversion Control’s Registration Call Center): 1-800-882-9539.

Law enforcement agencies can continue to conduct take-back events and collect drugs, federal authorities said. That could include partnering with a facility or health-related agency.

This Saturday, more then 5,200 collection sites will be operated throughout the country by nearly 4,000 national, tribal, and community law enforcement partners from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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Allendale PD / (201) 825-1900
Dumont PD / (201) 387-5000
Lodi PD / (973) 473-7600
Leonia PD / (201) 944-0800
Montvale PD / (201) 391-4600
Oakland PD / (201) 337-6171
Palisades Park PD / (201) 944-0900
Paramus PD / (201) 262-3400
Park Ridge PD / (201) 391-5400
Ridgefield PD / (201) 943-5210
River Vale PD / (201) 664-2346
Teaneck PD / (201)-837-2600
Tenafly PD / (201) 568-5100
Township of Washington PD / (201) 664-1140
Waldwick PD / (201) 652-5700

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ONLY pills and other solids, such as patches, can be brought to the collection sites.

NOT ACCEPTED: Liquids and needles or other sharp items

Police officers will be on hand to assist with disposal, but they won’t count, inventory, log or handle any medications.

“The medication can either be disposed of in its original container or can be removed from its container and placed in the disposal box,” Fair Lawn Police Sgt. Brian Metzler said. “Liquid products should be disposed of in its original container with the cap tightly sealed, to prevent leakage.”

“This program is anonymous and made to protect anonymity,” Lyndhurst Capt. John Valente added. “No questions or requests for identification will be made.”

In fact, Valente said, you should “remove the prescription label if it contains any personal identifying information.”

Although the estimated number of Americans who currently abuse prescription drugs dropped in 2013 to 6.5 million from 6.8 million in 2012, that is still more than double the number of those using heroin, cocaine, and hallucinogens such as LSD and Ecstasy combined, according to the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

In addition, 22,134 Americans died in 2011 from overdoses of prescription medications, including 16,651 from narcotic painkillers, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The government warns that the majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.

The enormous public response to DEA’s eight prior National Take Back Days “demonstrates its recognition of the need for a way to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous prescription drugs,” the agency said.

This past April, Americans turned in over 780,000 pounds (390 tons) of prescription drugs.

All told, the eight take backs so far have netted more than 4.1 million pounds (over 2,100 tons) of prescription drugs throughout all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several U.S. territories.

PHOTO, TOP: From National Drug Take Back Day, April 2013 (Fair Lawn PD)

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