On Saturday, September 25 New Jersey residents can safely dispose of their expired or unneeded medications through the federal Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) “Operation Take Back New Jersey.” (1)
The program was introduced last year in an effort to provide New Jersey residents with a safe and legal way to dispose of medication no longer needed, keeping it out of the hands of New Jersey youth. Teenage abuse of prescription drugs has become a growing concern, both in the State and throughout the country. Statistics bear this out:
• 20% of U.S. citizens 12 and older have abused prescription drugs, according to a report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse;
• 7 out of 10 drugs abused were prescription or over-the-counter medications, according to a 2007 survey of 12th graders (2)
Teens swap prescription drugs and combine painkillers with marijuana and/or alcohol. Often the source for their drugs is their own medicine cabinets. (3) In an effort to reduce this, the DEA and the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office came up with “Operation Take Back New Jersey.” This effort also keeps these medications from being disposed of in the trash or down the drain, where they can end up in landfills or drinking water supplies.
Last year, 9,000 pounds of anti-depressants, painkillers and other medications with an estimated street value of $35 million were collected statewide through this effort. (1)
Hunterdon County New Jersey residents can drop off their unwanted medications between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at police headquarters in Clinton, Clinton Township, Flemington, Frenchtown, Holland Township and Readington Township, as well as at the High Bridge Reformed Church in High Bridge. To find other locations throughout the State, visit www.operationtakebacknj.com.