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Operation Take Back Helps Residents Dispose of Unwanted Meds

Residents are encourage to drop prescription medications off at the municipal courtroom on Saturday, Sept. 29.

Operation Take Back Helps Residents Dispose of Unwanted Meds

 

Looking for a way to get rid of those old pill bottles from last year’s surgery? Or how about the medication from your last root canal? West Deptford Police have a solution.

The West Deptford Police Department will host Operation Take Back on Saturday, Sept. 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the West Deptford municipal court room. The annual initiative is held nationwide and designed to get unused prescription medications out of the household and into safe disposal. 

Police Chief Craig Mangano says this initiative is effective and helps to serve the community in several different ways. One of the biggest benefits of drives such as this, is getting unused prescriptions out of households and eliminating the risk of others abusing those medications. 

“I believe it’s a good thing, being these days we see a lot of juveniles and adults abusing prescription medications,” Mangano says.

Mangano also says the initiative also helps eliminate drug abuse not just in the home, but by outside individuals who may be tempted to break into a home to steal medication. 

“This day and age, we see a lot of burglaries and thefts, and in these burglaries sometimes medications are taken,” says Mangano.

As a side note, Mangano also explains that the initiative is also “good for the environment,” providing residents with a better way to dispose of medications—as opposed to dumping them down the toilet which can lead to a tainted water supply.

Mangano says this annual initiative has historically had a good turnout. He maintains the drive usually brings out many adults of all age groups.

All medications are turned in anonymously and no questions asked.

Although, Mangano stresses the police department can only accept medications—therefore, no needles will be accepted.

Once the drive is finished, all medications will be stored into a lock box and turned into the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office.

"I believe this is one of our biggest problems and if people aren't aware, it will never change," says Sgt. Danielle Lorusso, of the Gloucester County Gangs, Guns and Narcotics Force, about prescription drug abuse.

Once turned into the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office, the medication are then turned over to the DEA. Along with assistance from the National Guard, the DEA will then dispose of the medications in an incinerator located in North Jersey.

This initiative will be held more than a week after, the New Jersey Attorney General’s office announced that it would add 20 new medication drop-boxes to the state. These boxes currently are located at 27 police departments statewide, and provide a secure 24-hour drop box for unused or expired medications. 

“Nationwide, more than 70 percent of people who abuse prescription drugs obtain them from friends or relatives,” says Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa. “We are fighting this problem with a multi-tiered approach that involves law enforcement, our New Jersey Prescription Monitoring Program, and engagement with the healthcare community.”  

For a list of medication drop-box locations, visit NJConsumerAffairs.gov/meddrop.com.

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