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Maywood police to debut medication disposal box

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

PUBLIC SAFETY: Maywood police have become the latest law enforcement to add a round-the-clock medication disposal box.

The collection unit provided through the CVS Medication Disposal for Safer Communities Program will officially be unveiled at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 2, in the lobby of the department at the Municipal Building on Pak Avenue.

It will be available to anyone — not just Maywood residents — “24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Police Sgt. Mary Tutschek said.

And it’s all about anonymity. No questions are asked — and police suggest you remove any labels that contain personal information.

“The collection unit will be monitored at all times by Police Department personnel, but no identifying information will be required of any person wishing to use this service,” the sergeant said, adding that anyone looking to use the unit during overnight hours will be buzzed into the lobby.

NO liquids or syringes.

The program, Tutschek said, “builds on the success of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s successful Operation Take Back initiative and is in line with the law enforcement community of New Jersey’s effort to halt the diversion and abuse of prescription drugs.”

More than 100 police departments, sheriff’s offices and State Police barracks in New Jersey have secure drop boxes. The effort continues to be a huge success, state officials say.

“We are seeing [a] strong and growing demand from New Jersey residents who understand the potential dangers posed by unused medications, and who wish to dispose of them safely and securely,” Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said last fall.

Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli cited a “deep commitment” on the parts of the county Department of Health Service and Municipal Alliance Program, its Office of Alcohol and Drug Dependency, his office and police departments countywide to fight heroin and prescription drug abuse, he said.

Before this, most people flushed their unused prescription drugs down the toilet, threw them in the trash, or kept them in the household medicine cabinet. This contaminated the water supply, helped start and feed habits — often for children — and tempted thieves.

New Jersey last year had nearly 6,700 admissions to state-licensed or certified substance abuse treatment programs due to prescription drug abuse, an increase of nearly 300% over the past decade.

According to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 6.8 million Americans currently abuse pharmaceutical controlled substances – almost twice as much as the combined number of those who use cocaine, hallucinogens, heroin, and/or inhalants.

Nearly 110 Americans die every day from drug-related overdoses, and about half of those overdoses are related to opioids, a class of drug that includes prescription painkillers and heroin.

In addition, 22,134 Americans died in 2011 from overdoses of prescription medications, including 16,651 from narcotic painkillers, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The government warns that the majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.

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