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PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
|Mary E. O'Dowd, M.P.H.|
For Further Information Contact:
Division of Consumer Affairs
Thomas R. Calcagni, Director
For Immediate Release: For Further Information Contact:
November 14, 2011 Jeff Lamm, 973-504-6327
Neal Buccino, 973-504-6327
Pilot Program Important Component of the Division’s Fight to Prevent Prescription Drug Abuse
Project Medicine Drop is a pilot program in which, beginning today, the Division of Consumer Affairs will install “prescription drug drop boxes” at three New Jersey police departments – those in Little Falls, Seaside Heights, and Vineland. Once the boxes are in place, members of the public will have the opportunity to dispose of their unused and expired prescription medications safely and securely. The opportunity is available to the public seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Attorney General Dow and Director Calcagni noted that today’s announcement builds on the success of the US Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Take Back Initiative, and the American Medicine Chest Challenge, which is sponsored in New Jersey by the DEA, Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey, and Sheriffs’ Association of New Jersey. The most recent DEA Take Back Day was held October 29, and the most recent American Medicine Chest initiative was held November 11. Both programs enabled members of the public to drop off their unused medications at pre-identified, secure locations throughout those days.
Project Medicine Drop makes the opportunity available throughout the year. The three police departments that have agreed to host the medicine drop boxes will maintain custody of the deposited drugs, and dispose of them according to their normal procedures for the custody and destruction of controlled dangerous substances. They will report the quantity of discarded drugs to the Division of Consumer Affairs on a quarterly basis.
“For too many
Consumers from anywhere in
“40 Americans die each day as a result of prescription painkiller abuse,” said Thomas R. Calcagni, Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. “Reports indicate that over twelve million Americans abused prescription drugs in the last year alone, while prescription opioid overdose now kills more people than cocaine and heroin combined. With the abuse of prescription drugs reaching epidemic proportions, it’s the obligation of all of us to ensure that unused medication is disposed of securely and responsibly. Today, we’re inviting parents, grandparents, and others to join us on the front lines of the battle against prescription drug abuse. The simple act of depositing your unused medications with Project Medicine Drop will help prevent addiction, and help save lives.”
Dow and Calcagni pointed out that flushing unused medications – especially those classified as controlled dangerous substances (CDS) – down the toilet, or discarding them in the trash, poses health risks. Scientists have expressed concerns about the effects of medications released into water supplies after flushing down the toilet or sink, and the US Geological Survey has found traces of pharmaceuticals in streams in 30 states. Placing drugs in the trash creates the potential that they will be found by those seeking to sell or abuse them.
“Abuse of prescription drugs is a growing epidemic in this country that results in 15,000 deaths annually,” said Health and Senior Services Commissioner Mary E. O’Dowd. “Project Medicine Drop will provide a safe and convenient way to dispose of prescription drugs and at the same time help us prevent addiction, harmful overdoses or accidental death."
Project Medicine Drop will place unused drugs in the custody of the Little Falls Police Department, Seaside Heights Police Department, and Vineland Police Department. These agencies are authorized to take custody of controlled dangerous substances, keep them secure, and safely destroy them.
Information about the boxes, and their specific locations, can be found at www.NJConsumerAffairs.gov/meddrop.
Facts about the abuse of prescription drugs:
The Division of Consumer Affairs is preparing to launch New Jersey’s Prescription Monitoring Program (NJPMP), a statewide electronic database for the tracking of prescription controlled dangerous substances (CDS) and human growth hormone (HGH) dispensed in New Jersey by pharmacists in outpatient settings, and dispensed into New Jersey by out-of-state pharmacies.
The NJPMP data will help the Division identify the warning signs of “doctor shopping,” in which abusers obtain prescriptions from multiple doctors in order to hide the full quantity of drugs they are purchasing. The NJPMP is also expected to help identify the indiscriminate prescribing and dispensing of controlled dangerous substances by medical practitioners and pharmacists, as well as assist in informing public health initiatives by outlining trends of the use and abuse of prescription drugs.
Calcagni also noted that the Division – which includes all of the State’s healthcare professional licensing boards, including the Board of Medical Examiners and the Board of Pharmacy – has been partnering with law enforcement, regulators, and professional associations throughout
He specifically gave credit to the DEA, New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey, New Jersey Poison Information and
Follow the Division of Consumer Affairs on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/NJ-Division-of-Consumer-Affairs/112957465445651, and check our online calendar of upcoming Consumer Outreach events.
Department of Health
P. O. Box 360, Trenton, NJ 08625-0360