“This is one simple step that we can all take in helping to reduce the growing drug addiction problems we are seeing locally and nationally,” said Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari. “I join with my colleagues on the Board of Freeholders and our law enforcement leaders in encouraging our residents to clean out medicine cabinets and dispose of old and unused prescription drugs properly.”
In November 2011, Project Medicine Drop was launched in an effort to halt the abuse and diversion of prescription drugs. Project Medicine Drop is a program in which “prescription drug drop boxes” are installed at various police departments throughout the state. These drop boxes allow our citizens to dispose of their unused and expired prescription medications safely and securely seven days a week, 365 days a year.”
Vicari, who serves as Chairman of Consumer Affairs and Senior Services, noted that once the medication is deposited into a drop box, the participating police agency maintains custody of the drugs, and disposes of them according to their normal procedures for the custody and destruction of controlled dangerous substances.
“The statistics about prescription drug abuse are staggering,” Vicari said.
• According to the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 100 people die from drug overdoses every day in the United States.
• In July 2013, the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation reported that a growing number of young people are abusing prescription drugs, and noted a significant trend in which the practice has led to increases, not only in the number of young people addicted to painkillers, but to the number of young people using heroin as well.
• In 2013, 112 overdose deaths were confirmed in Ocean County, a 111 percent increase from 2012. Forty-nine percent of those deaths involved heroin.
“Ocean County is in the midst of a heroin epidemic,” said Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato. “Prescription drug abuse is the precursor to heroin abuse.
“National surveys show teenagers who abuse prescription drugs often take them from relatives, or get them from friends,” Coronato said. “Many people mistakenly believe prescription painkillers are less dangerous and less addictive than cocaine or heroin – but they are tragically wrong. The fight against addiction must therefore begin at home.”
Ocean County officials agree that the drop-off boxes enable Ocean County residents to get rid of their unused and/or expired medications in a safe and secure manner.
“Taking the right precautions may help save a loved ones life,” Coronato said.
“I want to commend the police departments in Ocean County for hosting these drop-off boxes,” said Freeholder John P. Kelly, Director of Law and Public Safety. “Education and raising awareness are key components in this ongoing effort. Disposing of prescription drugs safely and properly certainly helps as we work toward a solution.”
Drop off points in Ocean County are:
• Seaside Heights Police Department, 116 Sherman Ave., Seaside Heights, or call (732) 793-1800
• Toms River Police Department, 255 Oak Ave., Toms River, or call (732) 349-0150
• Lacey Township Police Department, 808 West Lacey Road, Forked River, or call (609) 693-6636
• Lakewood Township Police Department, 231 Third St., Lakewood, or call (732) 363-0200
• Manchester Township Police Department, 1 Colonial Drive, Manchester Township, or call 732-657-2009