MIDDLESEX COUNTY — On Oct. 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Middlesex County Coalition for Healthy Communities, together with most municipalities and Rutgers University, will join the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to hold another Operation Take-Back. This event gives the public an opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.
Most Middlesex County municipalities along with Rutgers University will be participating in the event. For an up-to-date list, go to the DEA’s website at www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
Earlier this year, the American Public turned in more than 309 tons of pills during the combined events. There were nearly 4,000 state and local law enforcement agencies throughout the nation that participated in the events.
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—both pose potential safety and health hazards.
Four days after last fall’s Take-Back Day, Congress passed legislation amending the Controlled Substances Act to allow the DEA to develop a process for people to safely dispose of their prescription drugs. DEA immediately began developing this process after President Obama signed the Safe and Secure Drug Disposal Act of 2010 on Oct. 12.
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