The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office has collected and destroyed over 23,000 pounds of various prescriptions and drugs over the last three years.
Hoping to encourage everyone to properly dispose of all outdated and unused medications, the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders is joining the effort by proclaiming May 2 as “Ocean County Prescription Take-Back Day.”
“Various studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, often from home medicine cabinets,” said Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari. “The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office is instituting every effort to prevent pill abuse and thefts by having Ocean County residents purge their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.”
To highlight the importance of disposing medications correctly, citizens are encouraged to look through their medicine cabinets and properly dispose of all outdated and unused medications. There will be a prescription drop-off event that will also include health screenings, information tables and presentations by the Prosecutor’s Office and other agencies from 10 a.m. to noon, May 2 at the Holiday City at Berkeley Clubhouse 2, 631 Jamaica Blvd., Berkeley Township.
“This event is designed to help our senior residents become more aware of the dangers old prescription drugs can have on grandchildren and loved ones, as well as provide other health information,” added Vicari, who also serves as chairman to Senior Services.
“This initiative addresses a vital public safety and health issue,” said Ocean County Freeholder John P. Kelly, who serves as Director of Law and Public Safety. “It is intended to protect our citizens from improper use and distribution of prescription drugs.”
Many Ocean County police departments participate in the Prescription Take-Back Program. There are 19 departments hosting permanent drop-off boxes available 24 hours a day, seven days a week throughout the county.
“Ocean County has seen its share of opioid drug-related deaths and every step we take together helps in some small way to address this epidemic,” said Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato. “Even something as small as dropping off old prescription drugs at any of the drop off boxes located at police departments throughout Ocean County helps make a difference. We want to encourage citizens to take advantage of these opportunities to clean their medicine cabinets to help protect their homes as well as their communities.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, since 1999 the amount of prescription opioids sold in the U.S. and the number of deaths from prescription opioids—drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone have nearly quadrupled.
The Prosecutor’s Office noted medicines that are left or forgotten in home medicine cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse.
Residents should be aware that flushing prescriptions drugs or other medicines down the toilet or throwing them in the trash pose potential safety and health hazards as well.
For more information on the May 2 program contact the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office at 732-929-2027.