Operation Medicine Cabinet Press Release


October 9, 2009
Contact Information:
Douglas Collier, DEA-NJ
Phone: 973-776-1143
Email: dscollier@dea-nj.gov
Angela Conover, PDFNJ
Phone: 973.467.2100, ext. 25
E-mail: conover@drugfreenj.org

New Jersey to Host First Statewide Medicine Disposal Day in the Nation

NEW JERSEY— Gerard P. McAleer, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey Division (DEA), New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram, and Angelo M. Valente, the Executive Director of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ), announced today, over 250 local police departments have signed up for Operation Medicine Cabinet New Jersey. This initiative is available for all New Jersey residents to properly dispose of their unused, unwanted and expired medicine. Operation Medicine Cabinet New Jersey is a statewide initiative that is the first of its kind in the nation. This statewide effort is being spearheaded by the DEA New Jersey Division, the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General and the PDFNJ.

Gerard P. McAleer  stated, “We are very excited about the wide spread support and enthusiasm Operation Medicine Cabinet New Jersey is gaining in our coordinated efforts to bring public attention to this issue that is impacting our youth, our families, and our communities. Law enforcement is concerned with the alarming trend in the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs, with potential access to these drugs coming from the medicine cabinets of family and friends.”

"This operation will reduce the availability of potent drugs that lead kids down a path to addiction,'' Milgram said. "We can't break a cycle of dependence if powerful prescription drugs are stashed in our own homes, tucked away in drawers and cabinets."

“With Operation Medicine Cabinet, we are calling on New Jersey residents to 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,” explained Valente.

According to McAleer and Valente, the 2007 study by the National Study of Drug-Use and Health, 70% of people who abuse prescription pain relievers say they got them from friends or relatives and the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), reports that upwards of 9 million people use prescription medication for non-medical uses. They noted that the 2007 Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey (PDFNJ) Principals Survey found that half of the principals surveyed said that prescription drugs are abused more than twice that of ecstasy and cocaine by New Jersey Middle School students.

“What is equally disturbing, is that 47% of New Jersey parents of Middle School Students said they know a little or just about nothing about prescription drug abuse, according to the 2009 PDFNJ Parents Tracking Survey,” explained Valente.

A multi-lingual and multi-media public service campaign to alert New Jersey residents of this public health problem and how to participate in properly disposing of these medicines’ has been launched by the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey.  It is currently under way and will continue through the statewide day of disposal, on November 14, 2009.The campaign entitled “Grandma’s Stash” is an expansion of last year’s successful statewide public service campaign that was recognized by the National Association of Government Communicators as the outstanding media campaign in the country.

New Jersey residents looking for information on their local collection site should visit www.operationmedicinecabinetnj.com. Local collection sites and contact information will be updated daily as new communities become part of this initiative.

Photo and interview opportunities are available upon request.