"Prescription drug abuse is the precursor to heroin abuse," said Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato, in a statement this week. "National surveys show teenagers who abuse prescription drugs often take them from relatives, or get them from friends.
"Many people mistakenly believe prescription painkillers are less dangerous and less addictive than cocaine or heroin – but they are tragically wrong. The fight against addiction must therefore begin at home."
Deaths from drug overdoses in Ocean County rose 111 percent between 2012 and 2013, from 49 to 112, county officials said. So far in 2014, more than eight deaths have been attributed to drug overdoses, mainly heroin.
What began as single-day prescription drop off events has evolved, with the help of several local police departments, into a permanent program. Anyone can now bring prescriptions into the locations at any time.
The locations include:
- Seaside Heights Police Department, 116 Sherman Ave., Seaside Heights, or call (732) 793-1800
- Toms River Police Department, 255 Oak Ave., Toms River, or call (732) 349-0150
- Lacey Township Police Department, 808 West Lacey Road, Forked River, or call (609) 693-6636
- Lakewood Township Police Department, 231 Third St., Lakewood, or call (732) 363-0200
- Manchester Township Police Department, 1 Colonial Drive, Manchester Township, or call 732-657-2009
“I want to commend the police departments in Ocean County for hosting these drop-off boxes,” said Freeholder John P. Kelly, in a statement. “Education and raising awareness are key components in this ongoing effort. Disposing of prescription drugs safely and properly certainly helps as we work toward a solution.”