A total of 2,218 pounds of unused and/or outdated prescription and over-the-counter medicines were collected through various Somerset County programs in 2014: Rx Mission Drive-In/ Drop-off events held at five scheduled Household Hazardous Waste locations, at a drop-box outside the Sheriff’s Office, through the Sheriff’s Office annual participation in Operation Take-Back Day and the American Medicine Chest Challenge and through a consortium with the Sheriff’s Office, EmPoWer and Safe Communities Coalition of Hunterdon and Somerset, to collect medications from several senior centers and facilities.
“The Somerset County community has consistently stepped up and taken a proactive approach toward protecting the environment,” said Sheriff Frank J. Provenzano. “The success of these programs is a testament to their commitment."
“According to a national study, 70 percent of people who reported using prescription drugs for non-medical use in the past year got those medicines from a home medicine cabinet, friend or relative,” he said. “Thanks to our residents’ enthusiastic efforts, the incidence of this happening has been reduced substantially in our county.”
Drop-off events prevent unused or expired medications from being flushed down toilets and sinks or discarded in landfills, which can lead to potential contamination of groundwater and/or wastewater treatment plants. They also keep drugs out of the hands of people susceptible to substance abuse, and prevent accidental poisoning by children.
In addition to scheduled drop-off events, residents wishing to dispose of medications year-round can do so by dropping them off at the Sheriff’s Office medicine collection drop box, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The drop box is located in the lower level of the Somerset County Administration Building at 20 Grove St. in Somerville, near the entrance to the Sheriff’s Office.
“Drug-collection programs, which are free and anonymous -- no questions asked -- have proved to be a huge success in Somerset County,” said Sheriff Provenzano.
For more information regarding medicine collection in Somerset County, contact Lt. Steve SanAntonio at 908-231-7168 or Sheriff’s Officer Thomas Wallace at 908-231-7138.
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