Atlantic County Sheriff’s Office will be hosting an Operation Medicine Cabinet (OMC) New Jersey local collection site as part of the first statewide medicine disposal day in the nation. The event will take place at two locations. The first will be at Oaks at Weymouth Senior Development in Weymouth Township, on 11th Avenue, approximately one mile from Route 50. The second location will be at the Port General Store, located at 205 Clarks Landing Road, Port Republic. Both sites will be manned between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m on Saturday, November 14, 2009. This initiative, open to all residents, was organized to encourage local community residents to properly dispose of their unused, unwanted and expired medicine.
This statewide effort, with over 420 participating New Jersey police departments, is being spearheaded by the Drug Enforcement Administration?s New Jersey Division (DEA), the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General and the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ). Atlantic County residents looking for information on the abuse of prescription and over-the-counter drugs and local collection location information should visit www.operationmedicinecabinetnj.com. Currently with 75% of NJ communities participating in OMC, over 6.5 million NJ residents will have a local collection site in their home community.
Atlantic County Sheriff Frank X. Balles stated, ?This is a perfect opportunity to get unused drugs and potent drugs out of your home and disposed of properly. This will reduce the opportunity of the drugs falling into the wrong hands.?
Gerard P. McAleer, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the DEA stated, ?We are very excited about the widespread support and enthusiasm Operation Medicine Cabinet New Jersey is gaining in our coordinated efforts to bring public attention to this issue that is impacting our youth, our families, and our communities. Law enforcement is concerned with the alarming trend in the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs, with potential access to these drugs coming from the medicine cabinets of family and friends.?
“This operation will reduce the availability of potent drugs that lead kids down a path to addiction,’ New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram said. “We can’t break a cycle of dependence if powerful prescription drugs are stashed in our own homes, tucked away in drawers and cabinets.”
According to McAleer and Valente, the 2007 study by the National Study of Drug-Use and Health, 70% of people who abuse prescription pain relievers say they got them from friends or relatives. The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that upwards of 9 million people use prescription medication for non-medical uses. The 2007 Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey (PDFNJ) Principals Survey found that prescription drugs are abused by New Jersey middle school students twice as often as ecstasy and cocaine.
What is equally disturbing is that 47% of New Jersey parents of middle school students said they know a little or just about nothing about prescription drug abuse, according to the 2009 PDFNJ Parents Tracking Survey, added Valente.