Rutgers University Participates in First in the Nation Statewide Prescription Drug Disposal Program

Rutgers University Participates in First in the Nation Statewide Prescription Drug Disposal Program

Operation Medicine Cabinet offers New Jersey residents the opportunity to dispose of their unused, unwanted and expired medicines safely and anonymously

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – To combat the growing trend of prescription drug abuse, Rutgers University will participate in Operation Medicine Cabinet New Jersey – the first statewide initiative in the nation that allows residents to bring unused, unwanted or expired medications to law enforcement officials for safe disposal.

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The Rutgers University Police Department (RUPD) is one of more than 250 police departments across the state taking part in the program. Operation Medicine Cabinet New Jersey is spearheaded by the state Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General and the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ).

The National Institute of Drug Abuse reports that more than nine million people use prescription medication for non-medical uses. More than 70 percent of people who abuse prescription pain relievers say they obtained them from friends or relatives – often without the knowledge or consent of the person to whom the medication was prescribed. A 2007 Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey Principals Survey found that half of the principals surveyed said that prescription drugs are abused more than twice that of ecstasy and cocaine by New Jersey Middle School students.

 “Preventing ready access to your unused prescription medication is one of the easiest ways you can have a positive impact on a young person’s life,” Chief Rhonda Harris of the RUPD said.

On Saturday, November 14, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., members of the Rutgers community and residents of the surrounding areas can come to the Graduate Lounge at the Rutgers Student Center on College Avenue in New Brunswick and drop off any unused, unwanted or outdated prescription drugs.

“We are very excited about the wide spread support and enthusiasm Operation Medicine Cabinet New Jersey is gaining in our coordinated efforts to bring public attention to this issue that is impacting our youth, our families, and our communities,” Gerard P. McAleer, Special Agent-in-Charge of the DEA said.

New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram said the operation will reduce the availability of potent drugs that lead kids down a path to addiction. "We can't break a cycle of dependence if powerful prescription drugs are stashed in our own homes, tucked away in drawers and cabinets," she said.

According to another PDFNJ survey, conducted this year, 47 percent of New Jersey parents of middle school students said they know little or “just about nothing” about prescription drug abuse.

“With Operation Medicine Cabinet, we are calling on New Jersey residents to see their medicine cabinets through new eyes – as an access point for potential misuse and abuse of over-the-counter and prescription medicine by young people,” Angelo M. Valente, executive director of PDFNJ said.

Members of the Rutgers community looking for information on the abuse of prescription and over-the-counter drugs and for local collection location sites should visit


Media Contact: E.J. Miranda
732-932-7084, ext. 613