Essex County, NJ – On Thursday, April 21st, Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. and the Essex County Division of Community Health joined with the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Team (ADAPT), the Essex County Police Chief’s Association and the Essex County Crime Prevention Officers Association to announce plans for Drug Take Back Day and raise awareness about the dangers of prescription and over the counter drug abuse. Drug Take Back Day will be held in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Take Back Day on Saturday, April 30th at 10 permanent collection sites and seven temporary collection sites at local municipal police departments throughout Essex County.
“Some of the most dangerous substances in your home are the unused prescription and over the counter medication in your bathroom closet. Youth may sneak pills and use them out of curiosity, but there is a real danger that this could lead to more severe drug abuse,” DiVincenzo said. “Ridding your homes of unused prescription medication and dangerous drugs is a simple and important safety measure we can all take. Using the collections sites ensures your unwanted pills are not used improperly and will be destroyed in an environmentally friendly manner. We encourage the public to join us on Drug Take Back Day,” he added.
“We ask that residents clean out their medicine cabinet and visit their nearest permanent or temporary prescription medication collection site to discard their old or unused prescriptions and over-the-counter medications,” said Joel Torres, Coordinator of ADAPT. “The Take Back Day and the permanent collection sites provide a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposing of medications while educating the general public about the potential for the abuse of medications,” he added.
Elected officials and law enforcement representatives attending the press conference voiced their support of Drug Take Back Day and the collection boxes.
“Opiates are gateway drugs and the problem is easy to see,” said Assembly Speaker Emeritus Sheila Oliver, pointing to a table covered with bags of prescription medicine recently collected at the Livingston Police Department drop-off site. “We need to examine our overuse of prescription drugs across the country. Programs such as these help save our youth from a life of destruction,” she pointed out.
“What’s happening here is so important. Let’s bring our medications to these sites and remove the temptation of abusing drugs from our homes. This is an easy and practical thing we can all do,” former Governor James McGreevey said.
“The use of heroin is increasing, there are no socio-economic boundaries, and this epidemic has to be stopped,” said Freeholder President Britnee Timberlake, who was accompanied by Freeholder Patricia Sebold. “We all know someone who started abusing drugs by misusing prescriptions. These collection sites are helping to remove gateway drugs that are found in our homes,” she added.
“I don’t finish prescriptions and I think everyone can relate to this. We all have some unused pills in our cabinets,” Sheriff Armando Fontoura said. “It’s not good for the environment to flush these pills down the toilet. The best thing is to bring them to these sites so they can be disposed of properly and safely,” he added.
Special Agent in Charge Carl Kotowski from the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration noted that 80 percent of people using heroin started their drug addiction by abusing prescription medications. “We encourage everyone to clean out their medicine cabinets,” he said.
“We encourage the public to take advantage of this service. It’s important that you look at the expiration date of your medication and not save it. You never know who is taking your medications. This is a great way to dispose of them,” said Essex Fells Police Chief Vincent Kulik, who is the Chairman of the Essex County Police Chief’s Association.
“This is a successful program because of everyone working together. We have 10 permanent sites and eight temporary sites open on April 30th, but I’d like to see locations in every municipality. This is that important an issue,” said Livingston Police Officer Gary Mankowitz, who is the Chairman of the Essex County Crime Prevention Officers Association.
ADAPT, the Essex County Division of Community Health, and the DEA formed partnerships with 17 municipal police departments to serve as collection sites. Although officials urged the public to participate in Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, April 30th, the permanent collection sites are open year-round so unwanted medications can be safely discarded at the public’s convenience.
The permanent collection locations are as follows:
· Belleville Police Department, 152 Washington Avenue, Belleville
· Caldwell Police Department, 1 Provost Square, Caldwell
· East Orange Police Department, 15 South Munn Avenue, East Orange
· Fairfield Police Department, 230 Fairfield Road, Fairfield
· Irvington Police Department, 1 Civic Square, Irvington
· Livingston Police Department, 333 South Livingston Avenue, Livingston
· Montclair Police, Department, 647 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair
· Newark Police Department, 480 Clinton Avenue, Newark
· North Caldwell Police Department, 136 Gould Avenue, North Caldwell
· Millburn Police Department, 435 Essex Street, Millburn
The temporary collection locations are as follows:
· Cedar Grove Police Department, 525 Pompton Avenue, Cedar Grove
· Essex Fells Police Department, 255 Roseland Avenue, Essex Fells
· Glen Ridge Police Department, 3 Herman Street, Glen Ridge
· Nutley Police Department, 228 Chestnut Street, Nutley
· Orange Police Department, 29 Park Street, Orange
· Verona Police Department, 600 Bloomfield Avenue, Verona
· West Orange Police Department, 60 Main Street, West Orange
Residents can dispose of their unused prescription drug medication by placing it in the marked collection sites. Dropping off medication is anonymous and safe. Residents should remove any identifying information from the medication containers, such as their name, address, telephone number and doctor’s name. Medications that are collected are brought to a licensed facility where they are safely disposed.
For additional information, please call 973-323-3907.
ADAPT was created by the New Jersey Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services in 2011, and is comprised of youth, parents, educators, law enforcement officials, substance abuse professionals, faith-based and government representatives, and other concerned citizens. It is managed by FAMILYConnections, a non-profit 501(c)(3) community-based counseling and family service agency with over 35 specialized programs for all ages from infants to seniors. Licensed by New Jersey’s Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services and Department of Children and Families, FAMILYConnections delivers research-based therapeutic services in its offices and on-site in preschools, schools, and directly in the home. For more information about ADAPT, please visit www.essexadapt.org.