Operation Take Back — where to drop off unwanted medications in NJ
There will be extra focus Saturday on the need for New Jersey residents to clear their medicine cabinets of unused, unwanted or expired prescription medications.
Permanent dropoff locations for these drugs exist in all 21 counties, but as part of the Drug Enforcement Administration's Operation Take Back Day on April 24, special collection sites will be up and running throughout the state — many will have law enforcement officials on hand, ready to educate the public and accept medication.
"What we don't want is for a grandmother, a mother, a father, to become that inadvertent drug dealer," said Brad Seabury, chief assistant prosecutor at the Morris County Prosecutor's Office. "I'm aware of overdoses in this county, that the individual died because of a prescription medicine that they took from their grandmother."
Seabury said certain prescription medications "can be just as powerful as heroin." Drugs left behind at one's home may be targeted by someone who's dealing with substance use disorder, or by an individual looking to experiment with painkillers.
Satellite collection sites will be running Saturday at a handful of supermarkets in Morris County from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Morris County officials said.
The DEA brought in a record-high amount of prescription drugs with its Take Back effort six months ago. Through events over the past 10 years, the DEA has brought in more than 6,800 tons of prescription drugs.
"New Jersey residents have done a fantastic job of participating in this very important program since its inception," said Susan Gibson, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA's New Jersey Division. "They turned in more than 18,000 pounds of unwanted, unused or expired prescription medications in October 2020, and have turned in almost 300,000 pounds since the program inception in 2009."
Dropoff locations accept tablets, capsules, patches and other solid forms of prescription drugs. Liquids and syringes are not accepted.