On Saturday, October 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wellspring Center for Prevention, the Coalition for Healthy Communities, and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public its 13th opportunity in seven years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.
“Prescription drug abuse continues to be a growing problem in the U.S. and locally, and a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends,” said Wellspring Executive Director & CEO Ezra Helfand. “The no-questions-asked “take-back” will enable our neighbors to help prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous, expired and unwanted prescription drug.”
Last April Americans turned in 450 tons (900,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at almost 5,500 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,200 of its state and local law enforcement partners. Overall, in its 13 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 8.1 million pounds—more than 4,050 tons—of pills.
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.
Middlesex County residents are urged to clean out their medicine cabinets and bring their medications for disposal to sites available in their own municipality. A link to locate a collection site near you is now posted on the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) website at www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
Members of the public are also reminded that they can use any of the 15 currently available permanent collection Medicine Drop Boxes throughout the County. These sites are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year to dispose of their unused and expired prescription medications. Consumers can drop off their unused or excess medications safely and securely. The available Medicine Drop Boxes are located at police headquarter buildings in: East Brunswick, Edison, Milltown, Monroe, New Brunswick, Old Bridge, Perth Amboy, Piscataway, Plainsboro, Sayreville, South Amboy, South Brunswick, South River, Spotswood, and Woodbridge.
Anyone seeking additional information or volunteer opportunities for this important should contact Mara Carlin, Coalition Coordinator, at 732-254-3344.