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A pilot program being launched in South Jersey is designed to help people dispose of unwanted prescription medications in a safe, easy way.

If you have leftover pills, you can bring them to one of several drop-off centers for proper disposal in New Jersey. But most people don’t’ know where these locations are, or even how to find out where they are.

In response, the Inspira Health Network is giving dozens of healthcare facilities in Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties about 50,000 plastic Deterra carbon-lined pouches, and those facilities are handing them out to members of the public.

State Sen. Jeff Van Drew, D-Cape May, said once you put unwanted medication into the pouch and add water, “the active ingredient in it completely destroys any of the efficacy, any of the value of the pill, so it no longer has any value to be sold.”

"You’re not mixing all kinds of chemicals and stirring things and creating all different types of chemical reactions. It’s a relatively simple process.”

He said this new system provides a safe and easy way to dispose of unwanted prescription medication so it doesn’t wind up getting taken out of your medicine cabinet and used improperly.

“It could be other people visiting, you’d be surprised, they look through your medicine cabinet, they find these medications, and they steal them and they’re worth money on the open market,” he said.

He also stressed disposing of unwanted prescription drugs by flushing them down the toilet is a bad idea.

“It actually goes into the water system and our water has trace amounts of antibiotics and other medications in it," he said.

Van Drew pointed out before the heroin and opioid epidemic spiraled out of control in the Garden State, disposal of prescription medications was not a big issue for people. “But now it’s important they do it in a timely and careful way.”

“I think it’s a good beginning, and hopefully this product and other products like it become more present throughout the state.”

You can contact reporter David Matthau at

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