By Karen Zautyk
Back in 2010, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration launched Operation Take Back, a nationwide program offering citizens a way to safely and legally dispose of their unwanted, unused or expired medicines.
The DEA termed the results “overwhelmingly successful” and has repeated the effort on a regular basis since then.
This Saturday, Oct. 26, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Operation Take Back will be held once more, and during those hours the public can drop off their meds — anonymously, no questions asked — at police departments across The Observer area.
One of the participating agencies is the Kearny Police Department, which will have a collection box at its Juvenile Aid Bureau on the Forest St. side of the Laurel Ave. Police Headquarters.
Officer Jack Corbett of the KPD noted that any expired, unused or unwanted medications will be accepted — prescription or over-the-counter. “We even accept pet meds,” Corbett said.
The exception: No needles. Repeat: No needles.
Corbett noted that, during four prior collections, a total of more than 300 pounds of meds were turned in to the KPD.
To put it in perspective: How much does a pill or tablet weigh? Next to nothing. It takes a tremendous number to add up to 300+ pounds. Which just goes to show you how much unneeded medication is lurking in home medicine cabinets.
The DEA started Operation Take Back in an effort to curb illicit drug use after stats showed that a significant number of the individuals who were abusing prescription drugs obtained them from friends or family — often without the knowledge of those friends or families. The abusers — and, authorities say, this includes “a growing number” of juveniles — simply take them out of someone’s medicine cabinet.
Over-the-counter drugs are now accepted, too, by Operation Take Back.
All the meds collected are turned over to the DEA for safe, secure disposal. And that does not mean flushing them down the toilet, which is a nono for many RX drugs.
So, between now and Saturday, check your medicine chests and clean them out.
Corbett emphasized that the collection is “completely anonymous.”
“There will be a box by the door. Just drop them in and leave.
“But you can say ‘hello’ if you want.”
The other collection sites in Observer towns are:
Nutley Police Headquarters, 228 Chestnut St.
Harrison Police Headquarters, 318 Harrison Ave. (East Newark residents welcome, too.)
North Arlington: Borough Hall/Police HQ , 214 Ridge Road; also, HB Pharmacy, 98 Ridge Road
Lyndhurst: Police mobile command post, 425 Valley Brook Ave. Shopping Plaza parking lot. Remember, the hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. No exceptions, except:
Belleville: The Belleville PD now has a drug-collection drop box in the lobby of its HQ, 152 Washington Ave., available “at all times.” “That’s year-round, 24/7,” said a spokesman.
If you haven’t paid it a visit yet, Saturday would be a good day to start.