TOMS RIVER — Governor Chris Christie praised the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ) for its leadership in the state and country in the fight against the opioid crisis, during a press conference on National Prescription Drug Take Back Day being held Saturday, April 29.
“The work of the Partnership is really groundbreaking, and now the rest of the country is catching up to what they’ve been doing,” Christie said Wednesday at the Toms River Police Department.
PDFNJ, along with the DEA of New Jersey, the Office of the Attorney General, and several local law enforcement agencies, helped spearhead the first statewide day of disposal in the nation 10 years ago, when 25,000 New Jersey residents took advantage of the event to dispose of unused medicines.
“As a result of this unprecedented success, the program, called at that time ‘Operation Medicine Cabinet,’ was recognized as a best practice in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy,” PDFNJ Executive Director Angelo Valente said. “The Drug Enforcement Administration replicated the New Jersey initiative throughout the country and created the National Take Back Day we are recognizing this Saturday here in Toms River and throughout the country.”
The event provides an important reminder of the potential hazards associated with prescription medications. Residents can participate this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. by finding a collection site at http://reachnj.gov/medicine-disposal.shtml and discarding expired or unused medications. The program is free and anonymous, with no questions asked.
“Everyone of us can go into our bathrooms in our homes and see prescriptions we’ve never finished,” said Christie, who leads the National Opiate Task Force. “It is a big day for everyone to recognize that there is a safe way to dispose of these.”
The majority of drug overdose deaths — more than six out of 10 — involve an opioid, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which estimated 91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.