Dispose of prescription drugs safely

MAPLEWOOD, NJ — The Maplewood Police Department will be hosting a Prescription Drug Take Back Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 30. This one-day event will provide residents with no cost anonymous collection of unwanted and expired medicines. The Maplewood Police Department is located at 1618 Springfield Ave.

Law enforcement, public health and environmental professionals stand united in support of prescription drug take-back programs, according to the release. Here are a few good reasons why you should take the opportunity to dispose of unused or expired prescription medications:

  • It’s a great time to clean out your medicine cabinet. Protect your children, families and environment by properly disposing of your unwanted and expired medicines.
  • Prevent accidental poisonings. Medicines in the home are a leading cause of accidental poisoning and flushed or trashed medicines can end up polluting drinking water.
  • Reduce the risk of drug misuse and abuse, especially among young teens and adults. Rates of prescription drug abuse are alarmingly high; more than half of teens abusing medicines get them from a family member or friend, including the home medicine cabinet, and often without their knowledge.

If you miss the April event, here are two local ways to dispose of prescription drugs safely:

  • The Millburn Police Department, 435 Essex St., has a permanent medication drop-off location onsite where you can drop off old and expired medications.
  • The NJ Department of Environmental Protection has created a document, Guidelines for Proper Disposal of Household Medications, available for viewing at http://www.nj.gov/dep/dshw/rrtp/disposal.pdf.

The NJDEP advises the following steps for disposing of prescription drugs at home:

  • Keep medicine in original container. Mark out personal information on prescription bottles.
  • Mix liquid medicine with undesirable substances like coffee grounds, cat litter or dirt. Dilute pills with water, then add coffee grounds, cat litter or dirt.
  • Place bottles in an opaque container, like a yogurt container and secure lid; or wrap in a dark colored plastic bag.
  • Hide the container in the trash. Do not recycle.

In addition, Maplewood Health Officer Robert Roe advises residents not to flush prescription medication down the toilet or the sink because this practice contaminates the water system. Prescription medications should be kept in a safe location, away from children’s easy access.

For resources on drug abuse prevention and counseling, visit the Maplewood Township website and go to the Health department Web page or call the Maplewood Health Department at 973-762-8120.