Bogota / Ridgefield Park Police to host collection site, Oct. 29


Bogota / Ridgefield Park Police to host collection site, Oct. 29


Ridgefield Park and Bogota will each be hosting Operation Take Back New Jersey local collection sites as part of the Operation Take Back New Jersey medicine disposal day. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 29 at each municipality’s police headquarters.

This initiative, open to all residents, was organized to encourage local community residents to properly dispose of their unused, unwanted and expired medicine. The program provides for a safe, efficient, secure and environmentally sound method of collecting and disposing medicine.

Many New Jersey police departments are participating in this statewide effort that is being spearheaded by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey Division, the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police, the NY/NJ HIDTA, and the New Jersey National Guard.

Lt. Scott Ehalt is in charge of Ridgefield Park’s event, which is being held for the third year. Ehalt said the police department hopes to alert and educate the public about the dangers of prescription drug abuse and the easy accessibility of these drugs.

"We hope residents see their medicine cabinets through new eyes -- as an access point for potential misuse and abuse of over the counter and prescription medicine by young people," he said.

Ehalt also stated that prescription drug abuse is a bigger problem than most think it is, citing recent studies between 1997 to 2007 that concluded treatment admissions for prescription painkillers increased more than 400 percent.

Between 2004 and 2008, the number of visits to hospital emergency rooms involving the non-medical use of narcotic painkillers increased 111 percent, according to Ehalt.

A 2007 survey conducted by the Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey found that half of the school principals surveyed said that prescription drugs are abused more than twice that of ecstasy and cocaine. More teens abuse prescription drugs than any illicit drug except marijuana. In 2006, more than 2.1 million teens ages 12 to 17 reported abusing prescription drugs. Among 12 and 13 year olds, prescription drugs are the drug of choice.

Det. Geoffrey Cole, who is organizing the event in Bogota, said the Take Back Initiative is another way for law enforcement to safeguard the community.

"Obviously, we want to help the public keep these things off the streets and out of the hands of juveniles. It’s a way to get rid of medicines without residents worrying about how to dispose of them," he said.

"Also, it’s good for the environment so people don’t flush it in toilets, where it can get into our water system," he added.

A box will be placed in the lobby of police headquarters, where residents can anonymously drop off their medicines, Cole said, noting labels with personal information can be removed from bottles.

The types of medicines being collected include both over-the-counter varieties, such as Aspirin, Tylenol or Benadryl, along with prescription medications, including painkillers or blood pressure pills. No aerosol containers or household cleaners will be accepted, according to the detective.

Bogota police last participated in the Take Back Initiative on April 30, when two boxes filled with medicines were collected.

"The last time we did it, it was an absolute success," Cole said. "It’s definitely an event worth holding."

For more information on the program and local collection sites, visit or www.deadiversion