(Hamilton) – On this Saturday, September 25, 2010, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Hamilton Township Police Division Headquarters (located at 1270 Whitehorse-Mercerville Road), Hamilton Township residents will have an opportunity to properly dispose of unused or unwanted medicine and prescription drugs through Operation Take Back New Jersey.
The special program, which is organized statewide by the US Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration – New Jersey Division, seeks to provide residents with a way to properly dispose of unused, unwanted and expired medicines. Through the initiative, law enforcement officials collect the medicines so that they can be disposed of in a safe and non-hazardous manner, preventing juvenile substance abuse or the illegal resale of prescription drugs.
Last year, Hamilton Township participated in the first ever medicine collection program (then called “Operation Medicine Cabinet”) with more than 400 other New Jersey Police Departments and local law enforcement agencies. Together, over 9,000 pounds (or 4.5 tons) of unwanted prescription pills and medicines were collected, which if resold illegally “on the streets” would have a value of approximately $35 million.
“This free public event is a great way for residents to properly dispose of expired or unwanted medicines, while preventing individuals who suffer from substance abuse from illegally obtaining prescriptions drugs,” explains Hamilton Township Mayor John Bencivengo. “I would encourage all Hamilton residents to participate in this effort and help prevent substance abuse. Together, we can help make a positive difference in our efforts to deter drug abuse.”
According to statistics on the Operation Take Back New Jersey website (www.operationtakebacnknj.com), a University of Michigan study found that between 1997 and 2007, there was a more than 400 percent increase in treatment admissions for prescription painkillers. And between 2004 and 2008, there was a 111 percent increase in hospital emergency room visits involving the non-medical use of narcotic pain killers.
Additionally, a 2007 study by the National Study of Drug-Use and Health found that 70% of people who abuse prescription pain relievers say they got them from friends or relatives, while the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) has reported that upwards of 9 million people use prescription medication for non-medical uses. A 2007 Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey (PDFNJ) Principals Survey also found that half of the principals surveyed reported that prescription drugs were abused by New Jersey middle school students over twice the rate of ecstasy and cocaine.
“By participating in ‘Operation Take Back New Jersey’, residents can play an active and important role in assisting law enforcement efforts to combat prescription drug abuse by limiting its access and availability to minors,” says Hamilton Police Chief, James W. Collins.
For additional information Operation Take Back New Jersey, residents may contact that Hamilton Township Police Division at (609) 581-4000.