In recent years, in order to raise awareness on proper disposal of prescription medications, cities and counties throughout the US have started to sponsor prescription drug take-back days. These generally consist of designated drop-off points, usually with law enforcement present, where people can take their unused and expired prescription drugs for safe disposal. This gets the medications out of the home where a friend or family member may steal them to experiment or feed an addiction.
This may sound ludicrous to many people. The thought of friends and family stealing drugs from them just isn’t on most people’s radar of things to worry about. Either they believe no one close to them has a drug problem or that since prescription drugs are from a doctor they can’t do much harm. These false beliefs are fueling a nationwide epidemic. This is why legislators in New Jersey have developed and are now expanding Project Medicine Drop to make safe disposal of prescriptions an easy streamlined process.
The New Jersey State Division of Consumer Affairs runs Project Medicine Drop. They are partnering with seven local police departments in the Township of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, where drop boxes under lock and key will be installed for locals to deposit their unused and out-of-date medications. Then Covanta Energy Corp. will take the collected unwanted prescriptions and destroy them free of charge.
The more convenient authorities make it to be able to dispose of prescription drugs safely, the more people will participate. That is why the drop boxes in Cherry Hill will be made available for residents to use 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They will even be accessible on holidays so anyone, anytime can simply drop off prescriptions as they are driving by the police station.
In the case of prescription drug take-back programs, proper disposal costs money. Funds from taxpayers are generally what drive programs such as Project Medicine Drop. However, taxpayers’ money is finite, and if the program is too successful, more drugs may be recovered than there are funds to destroy them.
Back in November 2011 when the program first got underway, citizens turned in far more prescriptions than expected – more than 400 pounds. Some of the police departments could not handle the price tag that followed, and that is when Covanta Energy Corp. stepped in and offered their services for free. They have now destroyed more than 240,000 pounds of prescription drugs throughout the US. Their goal is to spread awareness of safe drug disposal and of the prescription drug addiction epidemic.
How are prescription drugs safely disposed of in your community? We’d like to hear your stories below.