NJ Expands “Project Medicine Drop” Program

NEWARK – This week, Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa and the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs announced the expansion of “Project Medicine Drop” to a total of 40 locations statewide, a significant increase since the project reached all 21 counties last fall. Through this initiative, the division installs secure receptacles at law enforcement stations across New Jersey, allowing citizens to safely dispose of their unused prescription medications.

Tuesday’s announcement makes it easier and more convenient than ever for New Jersey residents to take an active role in the fight against the nationwide epidemic of prescription drug abuse. Members of the public are invited to come in and use the Project Medicine Drop sites 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, to dispose of their unused and expired prescription medications.

“Project Medicine Drop is succeeding as part of our effort to help get unused prescription medications away from those who might abuse them – and to encourage families to think differently about the drugs in their medicine cabinets,” Chiesa said.  “We also are expanding our fight against prescription drug abuse to include a greater level of outreach and education, along with the traditional components of investigation and enforcement.”

The Division of Consumer Affairs this month completed the installation of 13 Project Medicine Drop boxes that have been added across New Jersey since the end of 2012, including drop boxes at the Elizabeth, Perth Amboy and Sayreville police departments.  The full list of 40 locations statewide can be found at the Division’s Project Medicine Drop website, http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/meddrop/.

The Project Medicine Drop boxes are lockable, metal containers, resembling mailboxes and installed at select New Jersey police departments, sheriff’s offices, and State Police barracks. The boxes enable consumers to drop off their unused or excess medications safely and securely, with law enforcement agencies authorized to take custody of controlled dangerous substances.

The program helps keep prescription drugs from falling into the hands of those who might make them available for abuse, and prevents them from being flushed into the water supply or thrown into the trash where they could contaminate the environment.

In a partnership endorsed by the State Department of Environmental Protection, Morristown-based Covanta Energy, a nationwide operator of energy-from-waste and renewable energy facilities, has agreed to destroy the medications at no cost to taxpayers.

Consumers dropped off approximately 1,600 pounds of unused medications at the available Project Medicine Drop boxes during the first quarter of 2013.  During all of 2012, consumers dropped off a total of approximately 6,500 pounds of unused medications at the available Project Medicine Drop locations.

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