NJ.com - People urged to safely purge prescription drugs


People urged to safely purge prescription drugs

Published: Tuesday, September 25, 2012, 3:11 PM     Updated: Tuesday, September 25, 2012, 3:16 PM
Ashley Peskoe, NJ.com 


Operation Take Back New Jersey
EnlargeMonmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden announces Operation Take Back New Jersey at a press conference Tuesday.Operation Take Back New Jersey gallery (4 photos)

FREEHOLD – As a teenager, Laura DeSimone tried Oxycontin after a friend told her it would help numb hard times she was going through. Now as a 21-year-old recovering heroin addict, she wants to convince others from popping pills.

“If I could stop one person, I think I’ve done my job,” she said at a news conference in Freehold announcing Operation Take Back New Jersey. “You don’t realize how quick you become addicted to it.”

The Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office and Prevention First, an Ocean Township-based non-profit organization that educates the community about keeping children drug-free, are urging community members to dispose of unwanted prescription drugs at the county’s first permanent drop-off location at the sheriff's office, located in the lobby at 50 East Main Street in Freehold.

“Prescription drugs are considered a gateway drug to other serious and dangerous street drugs,” Sheriff Shaun Golden said in a release. “This program enables us to get our unwanted, unused and expired medicine out of our homes and to law enforcement agencies for proper disposal.”

The box is the 30th permanent drop off location in the state and is completely anonymous, Golden said. The drugs will be collected and disposed of without any information recorded.

One in six teens abuse medicine in the United States, and prescription drugs are most commonly abused by those ages 12 to 13 years old, Golden said, citing statistics from Watson Pharmaceuticals.

“[These are] outstanding numbers we need to reduce,” Golden said.

Robert Sweeney, a doctor at Jersey Shore University Medical Center-Emergency Medicine in Neptune, said more tools are needed to help with the problem, including more addiction treatment programs for adolescents and databases to show the last time patients were issued prescriptions along with the dosage. Sweeney also urged parents to be more aware of the drugs in their households.

“[I] know parents who have liquor cabinets locked, but not medicine cabinets,” Sweeney said.

The sheriff’s office, in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration, will hold Operation Take Back New Jersey Sept. 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the American Medicine Chest Challenge will be held Nov. 10. Unwanted prescriptions can be dropped off anytime at the sheriff’s office.

The drop off box is available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. A doorbell is located at the front of the building for after-hours drop offs.

A free app called 'AMCC RxDrop,' which locates prescription drug drop off locations nationwide, is available for download on iPhone and Android devices.


© 2012 NJ.com. All rights reserved.