A total of 1,491 pounds of unused and/or outdated prescription and over-the-counter medicines were collected through various programs in 2013: Rx Mission Drive-In/ Drop-off events held at five scheduled Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Day events, at a drop-box outside the Sheriff’s Office, through the Sheriff’s Office annual participation in Operation Take-Back Day and through a consortium with the Sheriff’s Office, EmPoWer and Safe Communities Coalition of Hunterdon and Somerset, to collect medications from several senior centers and facilities.
“The Somerset County community has consistently stepped up and taken a proactive approach toward protecting the environment, and the success of these programs drives that point home," said Somerset County Sheriff Frank J. Provenzano.
“Residents dropped off a total of 594 pounds of medicines at the March, April, June, September and October HHW events. Also, in October, 35 pounds were collected through the Operation Take-Back Day drop-off program, which the Sheriff’s Office participates in annually.
“According to a national study, 70 percent of people who reported using prescription drugs for non-medical use in the past year got those medicines from a home medicine cabinet, friend or relative,” he said. “Thanks to our residents’ efforts, the incidence of this happening has been reduced substantially.”
Drop-off events prevent unused or expired medications from being flushed down toilets and sinks or discarded in landfills, which can lead to potential contamination of groundwater and/or wastewater treatment plants. They also keep drugs out of the hands of people susceptible to substance abuse and prevent accidental poisoning by children.
In addition to scheduled drop-off events, residents wishing to dispose of medications year-round can do so by dropping them off at the Sheriff’s Office medicine collection drop box, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The drop box is located in the lower level of the Somerset County Administration Building at 20 Grove St. in Somerville, near the entrance to the Sheriff’s Office. In 2013, a total of 708 pounds of medications were dropped off at the medicine collection box.
Also, through the consortium, 154 pounds of unwanted medications were collected from participating locations by the Sheriff’s Office for proper disposal.
“Drug-collection programs, which are free and anonymous -- no questions asked -- have proved to be a huge success in Somerset County,” said Sheriff Provenzano. “For our community’s safety, I look forward to supporting them in the future."
For more information regarding medicine collection in Somerset County, contact Lt. Steve SanAntonio at 908-231-7168 or Sheriff’s Officer Thomas Wallace at 908-231-7138.