Jul 29, 2014

Bernards Twp.'s 1st Drug Dropoff Drive-Through is Saturday

One concern is that improper use of prescription drugs could lead to heroin use.

Bernards Twp.'s 1st Drug Dropoff Drive-Through is Saturday

The Bernards Township Municipal Alliance Against Substance Abuse and Bernards Township Police Department are holding the Township’s first-ever discarded Medicine Dropoff Drive-through from 10 a.m. through noon this Saturday, Jan. 18, from 10 a.m. until noon. 

The drive-through, aiming for maximum convenience and anonymity for local residents to dispose of unwanted medications, will be held at the Bernards Township police headquarters, 1 Collyer Lane, in Basking Ridge center.

The collection is co-sponsored by Bernards Township and the Bernards Township Municipal Alliance Against Substance Abuse.

“We’re so excited to give people an opportunity to drop off any unused prescription or over the counter medication. Participants don’t even have to get out of their cars! They will drive up to the police station, hand a Municipal Alliance member their medications, and drive away. The medication will then be safely and anonymously disposed of," said Community Program Coordinator and Municipal Alliance Grant Coordinator, Kaitlin Kordusky. "It couldn't be more convenient," she added.

Medications should be dropped off in their original packages or bottles. Participants are told to black out names on all prescription packages or bottles. 

Concern prescription drug abuse could lead to heroin use

"Because of recent data regarding prescription drug use leading to heroin use, we thought it was important to remind the town that we have this great resource at the police department and dedicate a few hours on the weekend to collecting unused and expired prescription medication so that they do not fall into the wrong hands," Kordusky said on Monday. "We’re hoping lots of people will take advantage!"

Kordusky said on Monday that she's noted other drive-through medicines collections in other Somerset county towns, but this collection would be a first for Bernards Township.

She said other towns in the county that also have the drop off boxes hold community empowerment days encouraging people to empty their medicine cabinets and safely dispose of medications. 

Bernards Township police headquarters has also installed a dropoff box inside the police department building.

Oftentimes when people are prescribed medications by their doctors, they pick up the medications, use them until they feel well, and then medicine sits in the bathroom drawer or medicine cabinet for long periods of time, according to information from the municipal alliance. 

"While the medicine sitting closed up isn’t harmful by itself, the possibility of what can happen when prescription medication gets into the wrong hands can lead to harmful outcomes," according to information from the municipal alliance. 

Either someone else finds the medication and uses it in the way it was not intended, or people try to dispose of the medications improperly, the alliance said.

Also environmental concerns about improperly disposed medications 

Somerset County Sheriff Frank J. Provenzano added, "Leftover medicines pose serious safety and health threats and also raise environmental concerns. Prescription-drug abuse is the fastest-growing drug problem in the United States." 

Among young people, seven of the top 10 abused substances are pharmaceuticals, Provenzano said. "Additionally, medicines flushed down the drain or toilet can contaminate bodies of water, harm wildlife and end up in drinking-water supplies," he said.

The medications to be dropped off can be unused, expired, over the counter, or prescription. Only solid medications, pills, patches, inhalers or similar objects can be accepted. 

Syringes, liquids among items that won't be accepted 

As at previous medications collections, liquids, medical waste, needles, and syringes cannot be accepted. Additional info can be found at  http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/meddrop .

The mission of the Bernards Township Municipal Alliance Against Substance Abuse is to provide consultation, programs, training and resources to members of the Bernards Township community with the goal of preventing and reducing the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs through education, support of events and programs and presence in the community, according to the municipal alliance. For more information, visit  www.bernardsalliance.org.

Don’t miss updates from Patch!