The Freeholder Board, local law enforcement and healthcare providers announced a new effort to increase public use and visibility of prescription drug drop boxes to combat the opioid crisis. The Camden County Addiction Awareness Task Force made it a point to install standard drop boxes located in police departments throughout the county in 2015. Now, new, mobile drop boxes located in county vehicles will begin to be deployed to events throughout the county this year.
“We know unused and expired prescription medicines are dangerous and can easily fall into the wrong hands if not disposed of properly,” said Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli Jr. “The mobile drop boxes are going to make it easier than ever to safely dispose of those dangerous pills and prescriptions. This will not be a one day event, but a concerted effort to make these units more available to the community on a consistent basis.”
In the United States, 142 people are killed by a drug overdose every day. Of individuals who use heroin, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 75 percent started with using prescription medication first creating a direct gateway for addiction. By taking unused medications out of people’s hands and homes, Camden County can significantly reduce the likelihood of an individual taking prescription medications that they don’t need or someone stealing them.
Rachel Haroz, MD, board certified emergency medicine, toxicology and addictions medicine physician at Cooper University Health Care, said these new mobile drop boxes will provide another tool in the battle against the scourge of opioid abuse.
“To succeed in ending this epidemic, we will need to increase access to treatment, including medication assisted treatment and decrease availability of the drugs,” Haroz said. “Make no mistake, limiting access to controlled prescription medication will save lives.”
These new, vehicle-based drop boxes will be stationed at different public events and locations throughout the year to further the visibility and use of the safe disposal method.
“In the midst of the addiction crisis, safely disposing of unused medications can go a long way in making the community, and the environment, safer,” Cappelli said. “This is a problem affecting our country that individuals can actually do a whole lot to help, and it will immediately benefit their friends and neighbors.”
Drop boxes are safe, legal, and free amenities to all county citizens. Rates of prescription drug abuse, and accidental poisonings or overdoses are both extremely high in the United States. Throwing unused medicine in the trash, or flushing it down the toilet, can pose a host of other potential risks to the community and the environment.
Pine Hill Police Chief Chris Winters, who has been at the forefront of combating opioid addiction in both his town and throughout the county, talked about the need for removing unused opiates from medicine cabinets and homes.
“Deploying both the permanent and mobile drug drop boxes has enabled our officers and community members to work together in combating the devastating public health crisis of opiate abuse and addiction by removing unused opiates from homes and ultimately the community,” Winters explained.
For more information, visit the Camden County Addiction Awareness Task Force online at http://addictions.camdencounty.com/.
Public Relations, Camden County