National Take-Back Event Collects Unwanted Prescription Drugs

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MIDDLESEX COUNTY — On April 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every municipality in Middlesex County, along with Rutgers University, will provide the public another opportunity to prevent prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted drugs.

Middlesex County residents are urged to bring their medications for disposal to sites available in their own municipality. A link to locate a collection site near you is posted on the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) website at www.dea.gov. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

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Last September, Americans turned in 242,000 pounds—121 tons—of prescription drugs at nearly 4,100 sites operated by the DEA and more than 3,000 state and local law enforcement partners, including the Coalition for Health Communities.

The Coalition, an initiative of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) of Middlesex County, Inc., is the lead organization assisting in the implementation of this event in Middlesex County. Statewide, National Take-Back is sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration New Jersey Division, Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey, the Office of the New Jersey Attorney General, the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, the New Jersey Prevention Network, and the New Jersey Chiefs of Police Association. Members of local Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) will also participate.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash— posing potential safety and health hazards.

“Proper control and disposal of potentially dangerous medication is vital, due to the trend of prescription drug abuse with youth,” said Coalition Coordinator Linda Surks. Surks’ son Jason experimented with prescription pills and overdosed, leaving his parents’ world in shambles.

Prescriptions collected during National Take-Back will be taken to a central location to be incinerated.


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