Mayor Mark A. Smith, Public Safety Director Jason O’Donnell, and Police Chief Ralph Scianni announced that the Bayonne Police Department will offer Bayonne residents the opportunity to turn in unused, unwanted, and expired medicine on Saturday, April 27, between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., at the main entrance to City Hall, 630 Avenue C.
All medications will be accepted. No questions will be asked. All participants have the right to remain anonymous and to remove patients’ names from medication bottles. Law enforcement agencies are encouraging the public to remove prescription labels that contain any personal identifying information. People have the option of turning in medications within bottles or to dump out pills into receptacles at the collection site. Syringes and other sharp instruments will NOT be accepted, because they are not considered medication.
This local collection is part of a statewide effort called Operation Take Back New Jersey, which was known previously as Operation Medicine Cabinet. Last September, Americans turned in 244 tons of prescription drugs at over 5,200 sites operated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and its thousands of state and local law enforcement partners.
The purpose of Operation Take Back is to draw New Jersey residents’ attention to the potential misuse and abuse of over-the-counter and prescription medicine. The goal of the program is to allow the residents of New Jersey to deliver all of their unused, unwanted, or expired medications to law enforcement officials who can dispose of these controlled substances in a safe and non-hazardous manner. Law enforcement agencies want to prevent these pills from falling into the hands of juveniles or into the illicit drug market in our area. 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 numbers 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 drugs obtained from the home medicine cabinet.
Unwanted prescription drugs should not be flushed down the toilet or thrown in the trash, because doing so poses potential safety and health hazards. In 2010, Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an “ultimate user” of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them. The Act also allows the Attorney General to authorize long-term care facilities to dispose of their residents’ controlled substances in certain instances. The DEA is drafting regulations to implement the Act. Until new regulations are in place, the DEA and such local law enforcement agencies as the Bayonne Police Department will continue to hold prescription drug take-back events every few months.
Parking in Bayonne for Operation Take-Back drop-offs will be available in front of City Hall on Avenue C, between 27th and 28th Streets.