In 2020, there were 3,046 suspected drug-related deaths in New Jersey (source:  NJ Department of Law and Public Safety).  Many of these deaths involved opioids including heroin, fentanyl as well as prescription painkillers.  According to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a majority of people who misused prescription medication obtained the medicine from a family member or friend.  Last year marked the largest number of drug-related deaths ever recorded in a single year in the United States -- 93,000.  Opioid-related deaths accounted for 75 percent of all overdose deaths in 2020.

It is vitally important that all of us do our part to safely dispose of unneeded medications that too often become a gateway to addiction.   There are local drop-off locations in Mercer County where residents can safely and anonymously dispose of tablets, capsules, patches, and other solid forms of prescription drugs.  Liquids (including intravenous solutions), syringes and other sharps, and illicit drugs will not be accepted.  The DEA will also continue to accept vaping devices and cartridges provided lithium batteries are removed.  

A location finder and partner toolbox are available at DEATakeBack for easy reference to nearby collection sites.  Although DEA holds its official Take Back Days twice a year, there are also opportunities to regularly and safely dispose of unneeded medications at pharmacies, hospitals, and local police departments to help clean out medicine cabinets throughout the year.