The police department has received the prescription drop box and is waiting on approval by the township for its installation.
“We currently have the drop box and are making arrangements for its installation in the lobby of police headquarters,” said Capt. David Paprota, Officer in Charge. “Its use is highly regulated so I drafted a comprehensive policy that is currently under review by the governing body.”
For the past year, the Lacey Township Municipal Alliance has pushed for a prescription drop box as one method to keep drugs out of the hands of people who might misuse or abuse them.
“We won’t solve the problem with the drop box but we hope they bring attention to the issue,” Municipal Alliance Coordinator Heather Scanlon said in September. “We are dedicated to informing and educating the parents.
The Lacey Township Police Department has participated annually in the federal Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) take-back day collection.
The last one-day drop off collected 150 pounds of pills.
The 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that prescription drugs that languish in home medicine cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Two-and-a-half times more people currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens and inhalants combined. The study also said that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.
At the Municipal Alliance meeting in September, Paprota said prescription drug abuse is the single most troubling issue facing the town.
Lacey had approximately 40 drug overdoses in 2012, Mayor David Most said at Thursday’s township Committee meeting. There were six deaths associated with drug overdoses and two alcohol overdoses.
“[The drop box] will be a step moving forward in our community to try to deter prescription abuse, which is very prevalent in our county. It’s in our school system,” Most said.
Once the drop box is installed, it will be available for residents 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Paprota said.
It is required that two officers from the police department be assigned to empty the box, weigh and document the weight of the contents and transport the prescription drugs to a facility in Rahway or Trenton, Paprota said.
The prescription drugs can only be transported once the police department receives a one-day waiver from the state Department of Environmental Protection.
“The primary purpose of the box is to prevent prescription drug abuse by simply making the drugs unavailable through proper disposal,” Paprota said. “The box should serve as a great convenience to residents in the disposing of outdated prescription drugs.”
The Municipal Alliance’s Substance Abuse Task Force is working with the community to implement further initiatives to deter drug abuse, Most said.
Most recently, the school district is considering implementing a random drug testing program for high school students involved in extracurricular activities and those with parking passes.
“It may not go smooth but implementing any deterrent in our schools is important,” Most said. “I don’t think it’s all that tragic if you found out your kids do drugs and we don’t go after them for punitive measures.”
The random drug testing could inform parents of a problem before it escalates, he said.
“I’m proud of all the initiatives we’re taking and I’m proud of our superintendent and support her 100 percent,” he said.