Drug Enforcement Administration

New Jersey

Valerie A. Nickerson, Special Agent in Charge

October 28, 2016

Contact: Timothy P. McMahon

Phone Number: (973) 776-1100

12,000+ Pounds Of Prescription Meds In New Jersey Turned In

NEWARK, N.J. - - Carl J. Kotowski, Special Agent-in-Charge of the DEA’s New Jersey Division, announced that last weekend’s National Prescription Take Back Day resulted in the collection and destruction of 12,457 pounds, or 6.2 tons, of expired, unused, or unwanted prescription drugs throughout New Jersey. Nationally, 731,269 pounds-almost 366 tons of prescription medications were collected. This was the 12th National Take Back Day sponsored by the DEA.

Throughout New Jersey on Saturday, October 22, 217 police departments participated in this collection effort, where residents were able to come to the various drop-off locations to safely dispose of these potentially dangerous prescription drugs. Over the life of the program, 7.1 million (more than 3,500 tons) of prescription drugs have been removed from medicine cabinets, kitchen drawers, and nightstands by citizens around the country. New Jersey residents surrendered more than 168,000 pounds, or 84 tons of medications, during the 12 Take Back events. 

Special Agent-in-Charge Kotowski said, “Once again New Jersey residents played their part in removing unwanted medications from their homes. Last week we collected about 5,000 pounds less than what was collected in April. I take that as a positive sign that the residents are becoming more aware and are also utilizing drop boxes available 24/7 at police departments throughout the state.” 
DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg said, “Take back programs offer a safe, simple, and anonymous way to keep dangerous prescription drugs out of the wrong hands and prevent substance abuse.” Almost 30,000 people-78 a day-died from overdosing on these painkillers or heroin in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Today, 4 out of 5 new heroin users begin by abusing the prescription painkillers.

On Tuesday, October 25, members of the DEA’s New Jersey Division and members of the New Jersey National Guard Counterdrug Task Force transported all of the collected medications to an incinerator facility for destruction.

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