Local police departments along with county, state and federal agencies in New Jersey collected and destroyed more than 16,000 pounds of prescription drugs during the annual DEA National Take Back Day last month.
The 16,127 pounds collect on April 27 is one of the highest totals in New Jersey since the nationwide program started in the fall of 2010. In April 2018, 14,819 pounds were collected and later that year in October, 12,749 pounds were surrendered.
“Just as DEA and our law enforcement partners are committed to ending the opioid epidemic, our communities recognize that this is a pervasive and heartbreaking crisis,” said acting DEA Administrator Uttam Dhillon in a statement announcing the collection results. “DEA Take Back Day gives every American a way to help by simply cleaning out their medicine cabinets.”
In New Jersey, 220 sites collected the medications, with more than 200 of those locations at police departments including Monroe, Cranbury, Jamesburg, South Brunswick, Old Bridge, New Brunswick, Edison, Piscataway and Woodbridge in Middlesex County.
In total, according to the New Jersey DEA division, 260,752 pounds of medications have been collected through the program and nationwide that total is 11,816,393 pounds since 2010.
“The current opioid crisis continues to take too many lives, and many people get their first pills to abuse from the home medicine cabinet,” said Special Agent in Charge Susan Gibson in a statement. “I want to thank the residents of New Jersey for cleaning out their medicine cabinets, and I would also like to recognize all the law enforcement partners who participated, as well as the New Jersey National Guard who assisted in the collection and destruction of the collected prescriptions.”
Take Back Day occurs twice a year. The next collection date is Oct. 26.
National Take Back Day gives residents a chance to dispose of their prescription drugs and medications in a safe way.
According to a 2017 study on drug use and health, more than 6 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs.
“The study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet,” according to the DEA National Prescription Take Back Day website.