Mayor Reed Gusciora was joined on April 24th by officials from the US Department of Health and Human Services, the New Jersey Department of Health, and local organizations to spread awareness about National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, a semiannual initiative to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible way of disposing of prescription drugs and educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.
Gusciora was joined by the Regional Director of HHS Dr. Anthony Ferreri, NJ Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal, NJ Assemblyman Anthony Verrelli, Trenton City Councilman Jerell Blakeley, Trenton Health and Human Services Director Shakira Abdul-Ali, the Trenton Police Department, Catholic Charities Diocese of Trenton Executive Director Marlene Lao-Collins, and Sabrina Slack, a recovering opioid addict celebrating one year of sobriety. Together, the group stressed the importance educating and protecting oneself from the dangers of prescription drug abuse.
Trenton residents are encouraged to drop off unused prescription drugs on Saturday, April 27 in a designated bin at the Mercer County Administration Building (640 South Broad Street) or at the Trenton Police Department (225 N Clinton Ave #1).
“There is no magic bullet to solving the opioid epidemic, but this is a great step we can take at the local level to curb it,” said Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora. “It all begins with awareness. Turning in unused painkillers means decreasing the possibility for abuse, dependency, and escalation to other drugs. I hope this push reminds us to take this issue seriously and be careful with our medication.”
“Combating the opioid epidemic is a top priority of this Administration,” said Dr. Anthony Ferreri, U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services Regional Director. “Unused painkillers lurking in medicine cabinets are a potential gateway to addiction– this National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is an important chance to protect our families, and everyone can do their part by ensuring that these drugs are safely disposed of.”
“As the opioid crisis continues to harm communities throughout New Jersey and the country, the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day provides for a safe way to dispose of unused drugs – potentially preventing countless cases of overdose and addiction,” said Senator Cory Booker. “We must continue to address this national public health crisis, including through innovative initiatives like this.”
“We know opioid prescriptions are still by far the biggest gateways that bring individuals into addiction, and National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is an opportunity to prevent misuse and abuse,” Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal said. “Our Opioid Reduction Options program, in partnership with the New Jersey Department of Human Services, aims to reduce opioid prescribing to treat chronic pain in hospital emergency departments. This is part of the Murphy Administration’s $100 million in strategic efforts to combat the opioid crisis.”
“As an addictions treatment provider, Catholic Charities Diocese of Trenton is pleased to join the US Department of Health & Human Services and the Mayor of the City of Trenton in raising awareness for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, a critical initiative to stop addiction before it begins,” said Marlene Lao-Collins, Executive Director of Catholic Charities Diocese of Trenton.