Department of Human Services

Hundreds of Drug Disposal Bags to be Distributed to Hospice Care and Other Facilities to Fight Opioid Misuse and Diversion

NEWARK – Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin, the New Jersey Coordinator for Addiction Responses and Enforcement Strategies (“NJ CARES”), and the Division of Consumer Affairs (“DCA”) are announcing that 80 hospice and long-term care facilities will receive drug disposal bags. The bags will provide the facilities with a safe and easy way to dispose of leftover medications, preventing opioids from being diverted or misused after they are no longer needed for a patient.


The bags were shipped out last week by Verde® Environmental Technologies, Inc., the maker of Deterra® Drug Deactivation System. Deterra® is a safe medication disposal pouch or container that can be used at home or in a clinical setting to destroy and properly dispose of unused, unwanted, and expired medications (i.e. pills, patches, liquids, creams, and films) by adding water.


“Ensuring the safe and quick disposal of leftover medication keeps opioids out of the wrong hands and reduces misuse and abuse,” said Attorney General Platkin. “By supplying hospice and long-term care facilities with drug disposal bags, we’re cutting down on the supply of diverted opioids, which in turn helps prevent overdoses and damage to our communities.”


Funding for these bags was provided by the Department of Human Services’ Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services, which received grant funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to address the opioid overdose crisis. New Jersey was among several states and territories to receive grant funding to prevent drug abuse and misuse.


“An important part of combatting the opioid epidemic is ensuring proper disposal of unused medications,” said Sarah Adelman, Human Services Commissioner, “I thank the hospice and long-term care facilities, Verde Environmental Technologies and Attorney General Platkin for their partnership to help ensure safe disposal of opioids. By working together, we can reduce addiction and save lives.”


“Addiction can start anywhere,” said Assistant Commissioner Valerie Mielke, of the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services. “Safe and secure opioid disposal can go a long way towards curbing this epidemic that has taken far too many lives.”


“DCA is committed to the safety of New Jerseyans and fighting addiction statewide,” said Cari Fais, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “You may think that leftover prescription medications aren’t doing any harm, but many addictions start at the medicine cabinet.”  


“The Department of Law and Public Safety continues to take an all-hands on deck approach to tackling the opioid epidemic,” said Kelly Levy, Acting Director of NJ CARES. “Through our partnership with the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services, we are excited to offer agencies that are caring for individuals who use opioids a secure and simple way to dispose of medication, helping to prevent unused prescription opioids from unintended use.” 


This is the latest measure to safely get rid of prescription drugs to stem misuse. Since its launch in 2011, the Division of Consumer Affairs’ Project Medicine Drop program has collected approximately 256 tons of unwanted medicine and destroyed it safely through incineration. Drop Boxes are now located in all 21 counties in the state, including on thee college/university campuses and on the McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst joint military base. Drop Boxes accept solid pharmaceuticals such as pills, capsules, patches, inhalers, and pet medications. They cannot accept syringes, liquids, or vaping devices.


For more information about safe disposal of opioids, visit Project Medicine Drop.