Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the New Jersey Coordinator for Addiction Responses and Enforcement Strategies (“NJ CARES”) are asking the public to join the fight against prescription drug abuse and addiction by purging their medicine cabinets of unused medication during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday.
This year, for the first time, the bi-annual drug disposal day sponsored by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has expanded to include the collection of electronic vaping devices.
“Too many addictions start at home,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We want to help New Jerseyans get addictive substances out of their homes, whether they’re unused prescription drugs or vaping devices. Together, we can beat the scourge of addiction and improve the health of all New Jersey families.”
Due to safety and environmental concerns, DEA collection centers cannot accept vaping devices that contain lithium ion batteries. Individuals must remove the batteries from the devices before turning them in. If batteries cannot be removed prior to the drop-off, the DEA encourages individuals to consult with stores that recycle lithium ion batteries.
National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is part of an ongoing effort to battle the opioid crisis plaguing the nation. Drug Take Back Day helps rid homes of prescription drugs that could be abused, stolen or resold.
“No family has been left untouched by the opioid addiction epidemic, and no family is immune to its devastating consequences,” said Sharon M. Joyce, Director of NJ CARES. “We all have an interest in putting an end to this national health crisis and on Saturday, New Jersey residents can do their part by discarding prescription drugs that too often start people down the path of addiction.”
DEA collection locations, staffed by authorized law enforcement officials, will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at community sites across the state. The April 2019 Drug Take Back Day brought in more than 468 tons of unused or expired prescription medication nationwide. This brings the total amount of prescription drugs collected nationwide at Drug Take Back events since the fall of 2010 to more than 5,908 tons.
Residents can also discard drugs at the Division of Consumer Affairs’ Project Medicine Drop (“PMD”) boxes, which are open year-round at 270 police departments across New Jersey. The Division notes that PMD boxes cannot accept vaping devices.
“Studies have shown that three out of four new heroin users got their start by abusing prescription drugs, many of them stolen from the homes of friends and family,” said Paul R. Rodríguez, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “Ridding unneeded medicine from your home is a simple step you can take to keep these highly addictive pills from falling into the hands of those who might abuse them or sell them.”
Since its launch in 2011 through 2018, New Jersey’s Project Medicine Drop program has collected approximately 164 tons of unwanted medicine and destroyed it safely through incineration. Drop Boxes are now located in all 21 counties in the state, including on five college/university campuses and on the McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst joint military base. Drop Boxes accept solid pharmaceuticals such as pills, capsules, patches, inhalers, and pet medications. They cannot accept syringes, liquids, or vaping devices.