Project Medicine Drop

New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is Project Medicine Drop?

    Project Medicine Drop is an initiative involving the installation of "prescription drug drop boxes" at participating New Jersey police departments.

    The police agencies agree to keep the locked metal boxes indoors, affixed to the floor or wall in a secure area within police department headquarters, within view of law enforcement officers, in an area to which members of the public may be admitted to drop off their unused and expired medications. Their prominent “Project Medicine Drop” logos make the boxes clearly visible and recognizable.

    Project Medicine Drop allows the public to dispose of unused and expired prescription medications safely, securely, and anonymously. The opportunity is available seven days a week, 365 days a year.

    This initiative builds on the success of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's National Take Back Initiative, and the American Medicine Chest Challenge, which is sponsored in New Jersey by the DEA, Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey, and Sheriffs' Association of New Jersey. Both programs provide single-day opportunities to drop off unused medications at pre-identified, secure locations.

    Project Medicine Drop provides the opportunity to discard unused expired prescription medications, every day throughout the year. The participating police agencies maintain custody of the deposited drugs, and dispose of them according to their normal procedures for the custody and destruction of controlled dangerous substances. They report the quantity of discarded drugs to the Division of Consumer Affairs on a quarterly basis.

    Consumers from anywhere in New Jersey may deposit their medications in any of the drop boxes. The Division plans to expand the program in 2012, to include police departments in each of New Jersey's 21 counties.

  2. Where Can I Drop Off My Unused Prescriptions?

    Find the location nearest you, by using the interactive map of Project Medicine Drop locations.

  3. What Types of Medication May I Dispose Of in the Boxes?

    For safety reasons, the Project Medicine Drop boxes can only accept solid medications such as pills, patches, inhalers, and similar objects.

    The boxes cannot accept liquids, medical waste, or syringes. Consumers wishing to dispose of these objects should speak with their doctors or pharmacists to find the safest and best ways to dispose of them.

    It should also be noted that consumers may only dispose of legal prescription or over-the-counter medications. Anyone wishing to dispose of any illicit drug, should follow the normal procedure of reporting it to the police.

  4. Are There Any Other Safe Ways to Dispose of Prescription Medications?

    Consumers are NOT advised to flush unused medications down the drain, or simply discard them in the trash.

    Scientists have expressed concerns about the effects of medications being released into the water supplies after having been flushed down the toilet or sink, and the U.S. Geological Survey has found traces of pharmaceuticals in streams in 30 states. Simply placing drugs in the trash creates the potential that they will be found by those seeking to sell or abuse them.

    If you’re not able to make it to a Project Medicine Drop site, you can follow our tips on how to safely dispose of unused medications.

  5. How Can I Keep My Prescription Medications Safe?

    If you keep prescription medicines in your home, you have the responsibility to keep them safe. Follow our tips on how to secure prescription and over-the-counter medicines in your home.

  6. How Serious is the Problem of Prescription Drug Abuse?

    The facts and statistics about prescription drug abuse are staggering.

    • Every day, 40 Americans die from an overdose caused by prescription painkiller abuse, according to the U.S. Centers of Disease Control. Overdoses of opioid prescription drugs now kill more people in the U.S. than heroin and cocaine combined.
    • Two in five teenagers mistakenly believe prescription drugs are "much safer" than illegal drugs, according to the DEA, and three in 10 teens mistakenly believe prescription painkillers are not addictive.
    • In the United States, every day 2,500 youths take a prescription pain reliever for the purpose of getting high for the very first time, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
    • The US Drug Enforcement Administration reports that prescription drugs, including opioids and antidepressants, are responsible for more overdose deaths than "street drugs" such as cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines.
    • The number of American teenagers and adults who abuse prescription drugs is greater than those who use cocaine, hallucinogens, and heroin combined, according to the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, compiled by the US Department of Health and Senior Services.
    • In June 2011, the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation reported that a growing number of young people are abusing prescription drugs, and noted a significant trend in which the practice has led to increases, not only in the number of young people addicted to painkillers, but to the number of young people using heroin as well.

      Read on for more information on the dangers, and the ways you can help prevent the abuse and diversion of prescription drugs.