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New Project Medicine Drop box at Teaneck police HQ pushes state law enforcement total over 100

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

PUBLIC SAFETY: More than 100 police departments, sheriff’s offices and State Police barracks across New Jersey now have safe, anonymous receptables for disposed prescription drugs after the dedication of a Project Medicine Drop box at Teaneck police headquarters this morning.

“We are expanding Project Medicine Drop in response to an overwhelming demand from law enforcement agencies that want to engage directly with their communities in the fight against opiate abuse,” Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said.

“We are seeing an equally strong and growing demand from New Jersey residents who understand the potential dangers posed by unused medications, and who wish to dispose of them safely and securely,” Hoffman said.

Since the launch of Project Medicine Drop three years ago, New Jerseyans have dropped off 18.3 tons — 36,533 pounds — of unwanted medications.

Of those, 48% were disposed of during the first eight months of this year.

So far in 2014, a total of 17,417 pounds have been safely discarded in NJ, compared with 12,216 pounds last year and 6,500 pounds in 2012.

“Project Medicine Drop gives New Jerseyans a safe and environmentally sound way to dispose of medications, and more and more residents are using it to get rid of their unneeded drugs,” Division of Consumer Affairs Acting Director Steve Lee said.

Bergen has 15 Project Medicine Drop locations, more than any other county in the state, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said (Ocean County is second, with 11; Monmouth has eight).

This is because of a “deep commitment” on the parts of the county Department of Health Service and Municipal Alliance Program, its Office of Alcohol and Drug Dependency, his office and police departments countywide to fight heroin and prescription drug abuse, he said.

“Direct engagement with the public is an important key to preventing and reducing the abuse and diversion of prescription drugs,” Teaneck Acting Police Chief Robert A. Carney said.

* * * * * *

BERGEN PROJECT MEDICINE DROP POLICE LOCATIONS:

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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The federal government in September gave authorized pharmacies, hospitals and other facilities the ability to accept unwanted medications for disposal, adding to the large number of law enforcement drop boxes. READ MORE….

Collections now continue round-the-clock at all police stations, as the number of boxes continues to grow.

Covanta Energy, a nationwide operator of energy-from-waste and renewable energy facilities, destroys the dropped-off medications from across New Jersey at no cost to taxpayers or to the participating police departments.

Before this, 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.

“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.”

The drop box method is “anonymous and made to protect anonymity,” Lyndhurst Capt. John Valente said. “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.”

New Jersey last year had nearly 6,700 admissions to state-licensed or certified substance abuse treatment programs due to prescription drug abuse, an increase of nearly 300% over the past decade.

According to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 6.8 million Americans currently abuse pharmaceutical controlled substances – almost twice as much as the combined number of those who use cocaine, hallucinogens, heroin, and/or inhalants.

Nearly 110 Americans die every day from drug-related overdoses, and about half of those overdoses are related to opioids, a class of drug that includes prescription painkillers and heroin.

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 state Division of Consumer Affairs says it plans to install additional Project Medicine Drop boxes at participating agencies in the near future.)

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