TRENTON – Senator Nicholas P. Scutari urged residents to participate in Saturday’s Operation Take Back New Jersey, a one-day program allowing residents to turn over unused, unwanted and expired prescription drugs to local drop-off sites for proper disposal.
Conducted by New Jersey police departments and partnering organizations in cooperation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the program aims to prevent potentially dangerous medications from getting into the hands of minors or making their way to the streets.
“Prescription medications are among the most abused drugs nationwide, particularly among teenagers. Sadly, most users only have to go as far as the medicine cabinets in their own homes, or those of their family members or friends, to get them,” said Scutari (D-Union). “Getting rid of expired, unused and unwanted medications will curb this problem by helping to keep potentially harmful drugs from getting into the wrong hands.”
Under the state take-back program, residents will be able to deliver their unused prescriptions to participating sites for disposal – which will ensure that they are destroyed properly, without posing a risk to the public’s safety or health.
“Most prescription drugs can’t just be thrown away or flushed, and pharmacies can’t accept medications for disposal,” said Scutari. “The safest way to get rid of unwanted medications is to turn them over to drop-off sites where they will be accepted, no questions asked.”
Scutari noted that prescription drugs that are disposed of in the trash can be retrieved by users. And flushing is not recommended for many medications, as recent studies by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and others have found varying concentrations of prescription drugs in the nation’s water supply, according to the DEA.
Last year, the DEA worked with New Jersey officials in all 21 counties on a similar drug take-back program, and collected more than 9,000 pounds of prescription drugs. Saturday’s event is the first organized nationally. The program is free and anonymous. Prescription and over the counter solid medication, such as tablets and capsules, will be accepted. The program will not accept intra-venous solution, injectables, needles or illicit substances.
Drop-off sites will be located in each of New Jersey’s 21 counties. Participating sites will operate from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and may be found at www.operationtakebacknj.com.
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