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Passaic County Joins Effort To Keep Unwanted Prescription Drugs Away From Children

PASSAIC COUNTY – Passaic County Freeholder Director Pat Lepore announced the County’s participation in Project Medicine Drop Box sponsored by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. In partnership with United for Prevention Coalition in Passaic County, Passaic County Sheriff Richard Berdnik, and Ringwood Police Chief Bernard Lombardo, President of the Passaic County Chiefs of Police, Passaic County installed five additional medicine drop boxes to the list of available locations for safely disposing of unwanted medications.

“The goal is to keep unwanted medications and prescription drugs out of family medicine cabinets and away from children,” said Freeholder Director Pat Lepore. “Through the efforts of the Sheriff and other local law enforcement agencies, the County is doing its part to make it as easy as possible for residents and safely get rid of these unwanted prescription drugs.”

Project Medicine Drop is an important component of the Attorney General’s and Division of Consumer Affairs’ fight against the diversion and abuse of prescription drugs. In 2013, consumers disposed of more than 11,000 pounds of medications at the existing Project Medicine Drop locations statewide. The Division of Consumer Affairs currently maintains 76 Project Medicine Drop boxes, including at least one in each county, at participating State Police barracks, sheriff’s offices, and municipal police departments. 

“Project Medicine Drop encourages New Jerseyans to take an active role in the fight against prescription drug abuse, and the opiate addiction epidemic,” Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said. “Our comprehensive response to this public health crisis includes enhanced investigation and law enforcement action, engagement with the medical community, and a commitment to public awareness and action. We commend Passaic County for its commitment to expanding this program.”

“This program will allow the public to safely and discreetly dispose of prescription drugs. I commend Freeholder Hector Lora for his leadership in pushing for implementation of the additional drop boxes throughout the County,” said Passaic County Sheriff Richard H. Berdnik. “Unfortunately, we have seen firsthand, that prescription drug abuse leads to the use of illegal drugs, such as heroin and cocaine.” 

Among adolescents, prescription and over-the-counter medications account for most of the commonly abused illicit drugs by high school seniors. 70% of 12th graders said that prescription narcotics were given to them by a friend or relative for nonmedical use (NIDA, 2011). 

“This is a great opportunity for residents to safely dispose of their unwanted medications and keep them out of our children’s hands,” said Chairperson of United for Prevention in Passaic County and Mayor of Hawthorne, Richard Goldberg.

A Project Medicine Drop Box is a locked metal container that is installed within the police or sheriff’s department. The boxes, under 24/7 surveillance by police, enable residents from any municipality to safely dispose of any unwanted, unused, or excess prescription medications. Medications can be disposed of at any time, or day of the year. When full, the contents will be transported for disposal in a manner consistent with environmental requirements.

“Every community in Passaic County has been impacted by the abuse of Prescription Medications and its negative effects on their residents. I encourage everyone to utilize these sites and dispose of your unused prescription medications in this safe and efficient manner,” said Chief Bernard “Bernie” Lombardo, Ringwood Police Chief and President of the Passaic County Chiefs of Police.

Passaic County has six locations dedicated to Project Medicine Drop Box. The boxes are located at the following locations:
• Passaic County Administrative Building, 401 Grand Street, Paterson
• Passaic County Sheriff’s Office, 11 Sheriff’s Plaza, Paterson
• Passaic County Sheriff’s Office, 435 Hamburg Turnpike, Wayne
• Hawthorne Police Department, 445 Lafayette Avenue, Hawthorne
• Little Falls Police Department, 225 Main Street, Little Falls
• Ringwood Police Department, 60 Margaret King Avenue, Ringwood

“All of our communities in Passaic County are impacted by the abuse of prescription drugs. It is something that sheriff’s officers confront regularly. It benefits local families and residents to make sure that their unwanted medications and prescription drugs do not end up in the wrong hands,” added Sheriff Berdnik. 
Additional information, including the full list of Project Medicine Drop locations, can be found at www.NJConsumerAffairs.gov/meddrop.