MIDDLESEX COUNTY—Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan announced that police departments throughout Middlesex County will be participating in a federally-sanctioned program aimed at encouraging residents to keep drugs out of the hands of children by disposing of unwanted, unused and expired prescription medicines.
Dubbed “Operation Medicine Cabinet New Jersey,’’ police in all 25 of the county’s municipalities, and Rutgers University, will be collecting medicines at various locations within the 25 communities and on campus on Nov. 14, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
In addition, the Monroe Township Police Department will be hosting additional collection days this week to accommodate its large senior citizen population.
Middlesex County law enforcement is joining more than 250 police departments statewide in the program that is being spearheaded by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey Division (DEA), the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, and the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey.
County, state and federal officials urged residents to note the collection locations in their communities and clean out their medicine cabinets.
“Prescription drugs that are abused are as addictive and as deadly as illegal street drugs,” Kaplan said. “Middlesex County, through education and prosecution, is committed to eliminating these abuses.”
“We appreciate that the DEA and Attorney General’s Office recognize the dangers associated with prescription medicines and are providing our residents with a safe way to dispose of those medicines,” Kaplan said.
Freeholder Mildred S. Scott, chair of the county’s Law and Public Safety Committee, said, “As a county government, we need to partner with our federal, state and local governing bodies, but we must also work as a team with our residents on this issue. It’s key to ask for their help in ensuring the proper disposal of prescription drugs so they are not misused, which could lead to tragedy.”
Gerard P. McAleer, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the DEA in New Jersey stated, ‘’We are very excited about the widespread support and enthusiasm Operation Medicine Cabinet New Jersey is gaining in our coordinated efforts to bring public attention to this issue that is impacting our youth, our families, and our communities.’’
“Law enforcement is concerned with the alarming trend in the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs, with potential access to these drugs coming from the medicine cabinets of family and friends,” he said.
“This operation will reduce the availability of potent drugs that lead kids down a path to addiction,” New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram said. “We can’t break a cycle of dependence if powerful prescription drugs are stashed in our own homes, tucked away in drawers and cabinets.”
“With Operation Medicine Cabinet, we are calling on New Jersey residents to see their medicine cabinets through new eyes – as an access point for potential misuse and abuse of over-the-counter and prescription medicine by young people,” Angelo M. Valente, executive director of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, said.
A 2007 report by the National Study of Drug Use and Health noted that 70 percent of people who abuse prescription pain relievers say they got them from friends or relatives, according to McAleer and Valente.
The National Institute of Drug Abuse reports that upwards of nine million people use prescription medication for non-medical uses. The institute noted that a survey of school principals in 2007 by the Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey found that half of the administrators said that prescription drugs are abused more than twice that of ecstasy and cocaine by New Jersey middle school students.
“What is equally disturbing is that 47 percent of New Jersey parents of middle school students said they know a little or just about nothing about prescription drug abuse,” Valente said, citing a Parents Tracking Survey by the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey.
Middlesex County residents looking for information on the abuse of prescription and over-the-counter drugs and local collection information may visit www.operationmedicinecabinetnj.com.
The following communities will be accepting discarded prescription medicines at their police headquarters on Nov. 14, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.:
- Carteret, 230 Roosevelt Avenue, front lobby
- Cranbury, 1 Logan Drive; Dunellen, 355 North Avenue
- Dunellen, 355 North Avenue
- East Brunswick, 1 Civic Center Drive at the police department lobby, in front of the municipal courtroom
- Edison, 100 Municipal Boulevard
- Helmetta, 60 Main Street
- Jamesburg, 131 Perrineville Road
- Metuchen, 500 Main Street
- Middlesex Borough, 1200 Mountain Avenue
- Milltown, 39 Washington Avenue
- Monroe, 3 Municipal Plaza
- New Brunswick, 25 Kirkpatrick Street
- North Brunswick, 710 Hermann Road
- Old Bridge, 1 Old Bridge Plaza
- Piscataway, 555 Sydney Road
- Sayreville, 1000 Main Street
- South Brunswick, 540 Ridge Road, Monmouth Junction
- South Plainfield, 2480 Plainfield Avenue
- Spotswood, 77 Summerhill Road
- Woodbridge, 1 Main Street
Residents living in the following communities may drop off discarded medicines on Nov. 14 from 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the following locations:
- Highland Park, Senior/Youth Center, 220 South Sixth Avenue
- Rutgers University, New Brunswick, Rutgers Student Center, graduate student lounge, 126 College Avenue
- Perth Amboy, YMCA, 365 New Brunswick Avenue
- Plainsboro, main lobby of the municipal complex at 641 Plainsboro Road
- South Amboy, Senior Center, 108 South Stevens Avenue
- South River, Office on Aging, 55 Reid Street
To accommodate its large senior citizen population, Monroe, in addition to the Nov. 14 drop-off at police headquarters, will also be offering collections at the following locations:
- Concordia, Concordia Clubhouse, 1 Clubhouse Drive, 9 to 11 a.m.
- Regency, Regency Clubhouse, 61 Country Club Drive, 1 to 3 p.m.
- Clearbrook, Clearbrook Clubhouse, 1 Clearbrook Drive, 9 to 11 a.m.
- Ponds, Ponds Clubhouse, 100 Waterside Boulevard, 1 to 3 p.m.
- Renaissance at Cranbury Crossing, Clubhouse, 9 to 11 a.m.
- Whittingham, Towne Center, 100 Whittingham Drive, 1 to 3 p.m.
- Stonebridge at Greenbriar, Stonebridge Clubhouse, 9 to 11 a.m.
- Renaissance at Monroe, Renaissance Clubhouse, 1 to 3 p.m.
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