TOMS RIVER – Ocean County is encouraging residents to take part in "National Prescription Take Back Day" on Oct. 28 to dispose of unused and outdated medications to help prevent prescription drug abuse.
According to the 2015 study from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, there are an estimated 3.8 million people aged 12 or older who are current misusers of pain relievers.
"Various studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, often from home medicine cabinets," said Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari. "The rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs."
To highlight the importance of disposing medications correctly, citizens are encouraged to look through their medicine cabinets and properly dispose of all outdated and unused medications. Throughout Ocean County, there are 20 Medicine Drop Off boxes, including one at the Ocean County Justice Complex located at 120 Hooper Ave., here. Most Drop Off boxes are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
"This initiative addresses a vital public safety and health issue," said Ocean County Freeholder John P. Kelly, who serves as Director of Law and Public Safety. "It is important that these drugs are disposed of properly rather than left lying around and falling into the wrong hands."
The Medicine Drop Boxes makes it easier and more convenient than ever for Ocean County residents to take an active role in the fight against the nationwide epidemic of opiate and heroin abuse, which often is fueled by the abuse of prescription painkillers.
In Ocean County alone, the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office has collected over 13 tons of prescription pills over the last two years for proper disposal.
"Residents can drop off their prescription drugs at any of the drop off boxes located at Police Departments throughout Ocean County," said Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato. "We want to make citizens aware of these opportunities to clean their medicine cabinets to help protect their homes as well as help protect the county."
The Prosecutor's Office also mentioned that medicines that are left or forgotten in home medicine cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse.
Residents should be aware that flushing prescription drugs or other medicines down the toilet or throwing them in the trash also pose potential safety and health risks.
"With Ocean County being home to 170,000 senior residents, it is important to be aware of the dangers that old prescription drugs can have on grandchildren and loved ones," added Vicari, who also serves as chairman to Senior Services. "Prescription Take Back Day is great effort to prevent pill abuse and theft. It also allows residents to take advantage of dropping off any unused prescription medications anonymously and with no questions asked at any of the drop off boxes around the County."
For more information, contact the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office at 732-929-2027 or your local Police Department.
A listing of the available prescription drop off boxes in Ocean County follows:
Ocean County Prescription Drop-off Box Locations
Barnegat Police Department
900 West Bay Avenue, Barnegat Township, NJ 08005 (609) 698-5000
Berkeley Township Police Department
631 Pinewald Keswick Road, Manchester Township, NJ 08759 (732) 341-6600
Brick Township Police Department
401 Chambers Bridge Road, Brick Township, NJ 08723 (732) 262-1104
Harvey Cedars Police Department
7606 Long Beach Boulevard, Harvey Cedars, NJ 08008 (609) 494- 3036
Jackson Police Department
102 Jackson Drive, Jackson, NJ 08527 (732) 928-1177
Lacey Township Police Department
808 West Lacey Road, Forked River, NJ 08731 (609) 693-6636
Lakewood Police Department
231 Third Street, Lakewood, NJ 08701 (732) 364-2500
Little Egg Harbor Police Department
665 Radio Road, Little Egg Harbor Township, NJ 08087 (609) 296-3666
Long Beach Township Police Department
6805 Long Beach Boulevard, Long Beach Township, NJ 08008 (609) 494-3322
Manchester Township Police Department
Colonial Drive, Manchester, NJ 08759 (732) 657-2009
Ocean Gate Police Department
801 Ocean Gate Avenue, Ocean Gate, NJ 08740 (732) 269-2468
Ocean Township Police Department
50 Railroad Avenue, Waretown, NJ 08758 (609) 693-4007
Plumsted Township Police Department
2 Cedar Street, New Egypt, NJ 08533 (609) 758-7185
Point Pleasant Police Department
2233 Bridge Avenue, Point Pleasant Beach, NJ 08742
Seaside Heights Police Department
116 Sherman Avenue, Seaside Heights, NJ 08751 (732) 793-1800
Stafford Police Department
260 East Bay Avenue, Manahawkin, NJ 08050 (609) 597-8581
Toms River Police Department
255 Oak Avenue, Toms River, NJ 08753 (732) 349-0150
Tuckerton Police Department
420 East Main Street, Tuckerton, NJ 08087 (609) 296-0230
Ocean County Justice Complex
First Floor, 120 Hooper Avenue, Toms River, NJ 08753