The Drug Enforcement Agency has announced this past weekend’s National Prescription Take Back Day resulted in the collection and destruction of almost 15,000 pounds of expired, unused, and unwanted prescription medications throughout New Jersey.

Jeffrey Coolidge, Getty Images

This past Saturday, numerous police departments participated in the collection of the prescriptions at 232 collection sites throughout the Garden State.  Residents were able to come to various drop-off locations to safely dispose of these potentially dangerous prescription drugs.

According to officials, prescription drugs that languish in medicine cabinets create a public health and safety concern because they are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse.  Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high; almost twice as many Americans currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those abusing cocaine, hallucinogens, heroin, and inhalants combined.

Studies show a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.  Americans participating in DEA’s six previous Take-Back Days turned in nearly 2.8 million pounds—almost 1,409 tons—of prescription drugs.

At the beginning of this week, members of DEA’s New Jersey Division and members of the New Jersey National Guard Counter Drug Task Force collected the prescriptions from the collection sites and had them incinerated.