N.J. considers permanent drop-off sites for expired prescriptions

Some New Jersey lawmakers want to expand the program that gives resident a safe way to dispose of unwanted prescription drugs.

Project Medicine Drop now provides at least one prescription medication disposal location in each New Jersey county.

Now the Assembly Health Committee has approved legislation that would require the state to supply and install a drop-off receptacle at every police department that requests one.

It’s dangerous to keep painkillers in home medicine cabinets after they’re no longer needed, said Assemblyman Dan Benson, D-Mercer.

“It’s an access not only for your children, for your children’s friends, but also — if your house if for sale — there are people that are roving, going around from house to house, to see if they can find prescription drugs.” Benson said.

The program is well intentioned, said Roseanne Scotti of the Drug Policy Alliance. But she said she isn’t sure many people will take the time to go to the drop-off sites.

“I think there are a lot of people who may feel, ‘I may need that medication somewhere down the road and I’m just going to keep it for now,'” she said.

The measure comes at a time that prescription drug abuse has been called an epidemic in New Jersey.

The bill to expand the program has not yet been introduced in the state Senate.

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