Drug Collection Program Having Impact On Opioid Problem

Apr 26, 2017

Prescription medicine collection box at Toms River police station.

As part of efforts to curb the opioid addiction problem, Governor Christie and other officials are urging New Jersey residents to safely dispose of prescription drugs they no longer need.

Collection boxes at police departments and pharmacies provide a convenient way to get rid of those medications.

Angelo Valente leads the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey. He says after drugs are dropped off, they're incinerated.

"We know that many people who are addicted to medicine have accessed those medicines through the medicine cabinets of family and friends. So by eliminating that access point it's really helping to deal with the epidemic we are facing throughout the state and throughout the country.

Two thousand pounds of the unwanted medications were collected in Toms River last year, the largest amount in the state.

Police Chief Mitch Little believes the program is having an impact on the opioid addiction problem.

“If you don’t have access to the stuff that’s laying around, that’s easy to obtain, then it’s going to curb somebody going to the next level. What they’re doing is they’re seeing something like and Oxycodone or a Percocet or something, they’re grinding it up, they’re snorting it. And then they’re looking at heroin, saying well it’s the same stuff and it’s seven dollars compared to 50 if I had to go buy this pill somewhere.”

Since the collection program began in 2011, more than 78 tons of unwanted drugs were collected statewide.