PUBLIC SAFETY: Police departments throughout Bergen County aim to top Wyckoff’s record haul from last April in this weekend’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.
The nationwide event gives citizens the opportunity to address pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs – with no questions asked.
(BELOW: A list Bergen police departments collecting the pills.)
“The medication can either be disposed of in its original container or can be removed from its container and placed in the disposal box,” Fair Lawn Police Sgt. Brian Metzler said. “Liquid products should be disposed of in its original container with the cap tightly sealed, to prevent leakage.
“Syringes and other sharp instruments will not be accepted.”
“This program is anonymous and made to protect anonymity,” Lyndhurst Capt. John Valente said. “No questions or requests for identification will be made.”
In fact, Valente said, you should “remove the prescription label if it contains any personal identifying information.”
The federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and more than 4,200 national, tribal, and community law enforcement partners have collected more than 1,700 tons of expired, unwanted prescription medications over the past 3½ years.
Of the 3,046 pounds of drugs collected countywide last year, Wyckoff Police Chief Benjamin Fox reported that 181 people brought 417 pounds to borough headquarters — nearly 14% of Bergen’s entire haul.
“This controlled destruction of the drugs keeps them from improperly being destroyed when dumped in toilets, sinks or the trash; and having the medications then enter the water stream,” Fox noted. “Additionally, getting rid of unused drugs prevents children from improperly accessing and potentially abusing prescription drugs that might be in the home.”
The program has helped prevent addiction, overdose deaths and the diversion of drugs to street dealers, federal authorities emphasize. An estimated 6.1 million Americans abused prescription drugs in 2011, and 20,000 a year die from prescription drug overdoses, they say.
An estimated 75% of people abusing prescription pain relievers “got them through friends or relatives the most recent time they used them, a statistic that includes raiding the family medicine cabinet,” the government said in a news release.
Pharmaceutical drug abuse has become such an epidemic in middle-class America that enough painkillers were prescribed last year to medicate every American adult around the clock for a month, the national Centers for Disease Control says.
Vicodin, Percocet, Klonopin and other medications are becoming drugs of choice for abusers nationwide.
More than 70 percent of people aged 12 and older who abuse prescription pain relievers obtained them from friends or relatives, compared with five percent who obtained them from drug dealers or online, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Police officers will be on hand to assist with disposal, but they won’t count, inventory, log or handle any medications.
IF YOU DON’T SEE YOUR TOWN IN THE LIST BELOW, CLICK: USDEA.gov