For the eighth time, the Cranford Police Department will be hosting a local medication collection site as part of the National Take Back Initiative medicine disposal day. The event will take place at the Cranford Community Center, 220 Walnut Avenue, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 26, 2014. This initiative, open to all residents, was organized to encourage local community residents to properly dispose of their unused, unwanted and expired medicine. Police will be on hand to accept medication for disposal. No identification will be required and disposal is completely voluntary and anonymous. Needles, syringes and other sharp instruments (including Epi-pens) will NOT be collected.
This national effort, with the majority of New Jersey police departments participating, is being spearheaded by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Statewide partners include the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police, the NY/NJ HIDTA, and the New Jersey National Guard. Cranford residents looking for additional information on the program and alternate collection sites should visit http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/.
This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards.
Last October, Americans turned in 324 tons (over 647,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at over 5,600 sites operated by the DEA and its thousands of state and local law enforcement partners. In its seven previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners took in over 3.4 million pounds—over a seventeen hundred tons—of pills.
Cranford Police Chief James Wozniak has made protecting the citizens of Cranford from the impacts of drug abuse a primary focus of his administration. “Readily available prescription medications pose a danger to our community, especially our youth and other vulnerable populations,” he said. “Anytime we can be proactive in deterring or combatting potential drug abuse we will do so.” Chief Wozniak noted that last year the Cranford Police Department collected and disposed of over 350 pounds of prescription and over the counter drugs.