Home Ocean County The O.C. Prosecutor’s Office Has Sent 13,000 Pounds of Pills to be...

The O.C. Prosecutor’s Office Has Sent 13,000 Pounds of Pills to be Burnt

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Thousands of pounds of unused prescription drugs being hauled away. (Photo: OCPO)
Thousands of pounds of unused prescription drugs being hauled away. (Photo: OCPO)

Their backs might be stiff, but it was all in a day’s work for detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.

The detectives had a slightly different assignment than usual on Wednesday: loading 2,960 pounds of unused prescription drugs on a truck where they were to be burnt. Wednesday’s haul is a portion of the 13,340 pounds of pills the prosecutor’s office has collected since the agency began “Operation Medicine Drop” in late 2014.

“Unused medications often end up in the wrong hands, are used illegally, or find their way into our water supply,” said Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato. “In the worst case scenarios these forgotten pain killing medications lead to addiction or teens becoming unwitting drug dealers.”

OCPO Agent Denis Mitchell (left) gets a pill burn celebration happy dance lesson from OCPO’s Anthony Carrington III. (Photo: OCPO)
OCPO Agent Denis Mitchell (left) gets a pill burn celebration happy dance lesson from OCPO’s Anthony Carrington III. (Photo: OCPO)
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Operation Medicine Drop is the county wide initiative to make disposal of unused medications an “easy convenient priority for Ocean County residents,” said Al Della Fave, spokesman for the prosecutor’s office. The office has set up collection bins at numerous locations around the county. Locally in northern Ocean County, there are collection bins at the Brick, Point Pleasant Borough, Toms River and Seaside Heights police department headquarters.

The program has been a resounding success, officials say.

“It can be difficult to comprehend the amount of medications to account for such a huge total,” said Della Fave. “The stiff backs of the detectives can certainly attest to it.”

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Editor’s Note: For more information on Operation Medicine Drop, click here.


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  • Frank Rizzo

    Why so much waste….people paid for this stuff….why was it prescribe if it was too much to use

    • KaayC

      I wondered the same Frank and thought about it. You can’t just blame the prescriber. I think sometimes medications don’t agree with people so they stop taking them. Or they plain and simply may not help a given ailment so people stop taking them. Or they may be okay, but only needed on occassion as with seasonal allergy medicines. By the time the season comes round again, the meds are out of date. The popularity of mail away prescription programs which require 90 days worth of medicine be purchased contributes in large part as well. Sometimes these meds run out of date before the ninety day period is even done! The pharmacy is only required that the meds be good for ninety days of the script being filled. They do not have to account for the travel time! It occurs to me that those medications may be transported in extreme non-climate controlled conditions, so how effective can they be? Ironic that these programs which are supposed to save us money, instead create such waste.

      This is all obviously big bucks for pharma. With all of the generic medications floating around from whatever province of India has the best deal that month, it can be challenging to establish the efficacy of these meds. Every few months even with the same exact prescription the pills can be a different shape and color….yet the pharmacists claim it is the same formulary. I don’t believe them. How can there be quality control from a country that does not necessarily even have flushing toilets? I also know that sometimes people just forget to take their meds. It can be especially challenging for seniors on multiple medications. It happens to me with vitamins. Those mega sized bottles from Costco are often the culprit; they go out of date before I can use them. I now try to buy more conservatively.