To the Editor:
This Saturday, October 29th, the New Jersey Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is partnering with local chiefs of police for Operation Take Back New Jersey. This program allows residents to safely and legally dispose of any unwanted, unused, or expired medication.
Operation Take Back was launched nationally in September 2010 in response to studies which reported increased abuse of prescription painkillers, especially among teenagers. According to one study, hospital emergency room visits due to non-medical use of painkillers increased 111 percent between 2004 and 2008.
In an effort to battle prescription drug abuse, I have sponsored legislation, A-4041, which prohibits a pharmacist from substituting for tamper-resistant opioid, or painkiller, drugs. Prescription drugs are often crushed when used for non-medical purposes and so pharmaceutical companies have developed non-crushable drugs. Unfortunately, pharmacists have been found to substitute for the prescribed tamper-resistant pills.
Under this legislation, the Department of Health and Senior Services would compile a list of opioid drugs that incorporate tamper resistance technology and a pharmacist would not be permitted to substitute for any of the listed drugs without written consent from the prescribing doctor.
Experts say that more and more teenagers are accessing drugs right from their parents’ medicine cabinets. This is a frightening concept and parents need to remain vigilant of the medications they keep at home. I urge not only parents, but everyone, to go through your medicine cabinets and take advantage of Operation Take Back New Jersey to safely dispose of any unwanted medication.
For more information on Operation Take Back New Jersey visit www.operationtakebacknj.com or contact your local police department.
Mary Pat Angelini
Assemblywoman, 11th District