PUBLIC SAFETY: More than 300 pounds of unused and expired medications have been collected by River Vale police as part of the increasingly popular “Project Medicine Drop” program, designed to allow their safe disposal.
River Vale, Leonia and Paramus have the only police departments in Bergen County that operate the state-sponsored program, no questions asked, 24 hours a day. They provide lockable, metal receptacles that look like mailboxes and are available for anyone to discretely dispose of medications.
This helps keep prescription drugs from falling into the hands of those who might make them available for abuse, and prevents them from being flushed into the water supply or thrown into the trash where they could contaminate the environment, said River Vale Detective Sgt. John J. DeVoe.
Sgt. Gary Blumenthal spearheaded the department’s participation last June — and has watched the program grow in popularity.
“Our program’s popularity and the fact that we were at the forefront of this endeavor are direct reflections of his hard work,” DeVoe said.
The seeds were sown two years earlier during the first “Operation Take Back,” a one-day campaign with the federal Drug Enforcement Agency.
“Disposing of unused and expired medications is extremely important,” DeVoe said.
“Many pharmaceutical companies place ‘life spans’ on their medication and indicate that the potency of the drug is not what it was after expiration at it was at its production,” he explained.
“Another very important reason is the statistical fact that many unused medications are being diverted into the hands of people other than whom they were intended.”
“Project Medicine Drop” is sponsored by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, which covers ALL expenses for the township — advertising fliers and posters, as well as the drop box itself.
Anyone (not just River Vale citizens) can anonymously drop off his or her medications.
You can removed the labels or not — it’s up to you.
HOWEVER: Due to safety concerns, there are certain limitations — primarily, that no liquids or needles be deposited.
Covanta Energy, a nationwide operator of energy-from-waste and renewable energy facilities, destroys the collected medications at its Newark waste-disposal facility at no cost to taxpayers.
This saves local police departments thousands of dollars a year.
STORY by Lindsay Puchall
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