In letters going out this week to members of the real estate, health care, and funeral home industries, Attorney General Porrino is asking licensed professionals to promote New Jersey’s “Project Medicine Drop” as a safe and convenient way for their clients to dispose of unwanted prescription drugs, including potent opioid medications that can lead to addiction.
“Dealers and those stricken with the disease of addiction, will seize any opportunity to pilfer pain pills and other narcotics, even from someone’s medicine cabinet while posing as prospective home buyers at a real estate open house or scouring the obituaries in search of a home to burglarize,” said Attorney General Porrino. “Professionals who encourage their clients to dispose of unwanted prescription drugs through Project Medicine Drop can help stem the tide of addiction by preventing these drugs from falling into the wrong hands.”
According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), four out of five new heroin users begin their addictions with prescription pain medication, often stolen from the medicine cabinets of others. Thieves have been known to rummage through medicine cabinets during real estate open houses, while doing in-home contracting work, and while visiting senior housing facilities. They’ve also been known to scour the obituaries in search of someone who died from a lengthy illness that may have required pain medication, and then burglarized the home during the funeral service.
Attorney General Porrino has asked the New Jersey Department of Health, which licenses health care facilities, and the Department of Banking and Insurance, which licenses real estate brokers and agents, to disseminate his letters to their licensees to spread the word about the drug theft threat.
Additionally, the Division of Consumer Affairs will issue the letter to nursing agencies and funeral home directors licensed by the professional boards within the Division.
“The battle against addiction must be fought on all fronts,” said Steve Lee, Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “New Jersey’s licensed professionals are in a unique position to speak directly to clients and enlist their help in making sure the contents of their medicine cabinets aren’t fueling New Jersey’s drug crisis.”
Project Medicine Drop, developed by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, thwarts the diversion of unused prescription drugs by allowing consumers to dispose of them anonymously, seven days a week, 365 days a year, at "drop boxes" located within the headquarters of participating police departments.
Since the launch of Project Medicine Drop in 2011, 215 drop boxes have been installed at police departments throughout the state, including two military installations and several college campuses. To date, more than 78 tons of unwanted medicine has been collected and safely destroyed through incineration. In 2015, the Project Medicine Drop program was expanded to include “mobile drop boxes” for use at community events, senior centers, and senior living communities. Drop Boxes accept solid pharmaceuticals such as pills, capsules, patches, inhalers, and pet medications. They cannot accept syringes or liquids.
The promotion of Project Medicine Drop is part of the State’s ongoing efforts to fight the diversion and abuse of opioids that have paved the way to an addiction crisis driving up overdose deaths and ravaging communities across New Jersey. Among the initiatives undertaken by Attorney General Porrino and the Division of Consumer Affairs are:
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