Attorney General, Division of Consumer Affairs Announce Significant Expansion of "Project Medicine Drop"; Consumers Can Now Dispose of Unused Medications at 40 Secure Locations Statewide
NEWARK – Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa and the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs today 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.
Today'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," Attorney General Jeffrey S. 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. The full list of 40 locations statewide can be found at the Division's Project Medicine Drop website.
The 13 newest locations are:
- Bergen County – River Vale Police Department
- Burlington County – Burlington Township Police Department
- Camden County – Haddon Heights Police Department
- Cape May County – Stone Harbor Police Department
- Middlesex County – Perth Amboy Police Department
- Middlesex County – Sayreville Police Department
- Ocean County – Lacey Township Police Department
- Somerset County – Bernards Township Police Department
- Sussex County – Hopatcong Police Department
- Sussex County – Sparta Township Police Department
- Sussex County – Vernon Township Police Department
- Union County – Elizabeth Police Department
- Warren County – Warren County Sheriff's Office, Belvidere
"The prescription drug abuse epidemic is fueled by the mistaken belief that it is safe to abuse certain Controlled Dangerous Substances just because they can be prescribed as medicine," Eric T. Kanefsky, Acting Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. "Nothing could be further from the truth. Opioid painkillers are chemically similar to heroin – and, if taken to get high, can be just as addictive and just as deadly."
Attorney General Chiesa and Acting Director Kanefsky noted the Division is developing a prescription drug abuse education and awareness campaign, which will be funded by a recent $650,000 settlement payment from CVS-Caremark.
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, thus potentially saving the police departments thousands of dollars per year.
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.
For much more information on the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs' initiative to halt the diversion and abuse of prescription drugs, view the Division's NJPMP website, and the Division's Project Medicine Drop website.
Follow the Division of Consumer Affairs on Facebook, and check our online calendar of upcoming Consumer Outreach events.