Morris County, NJ law enforcement agencies collaborated to get more than 500 pounds of prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications off the streets.
The coordinated effort by police agencies throughout Morris County was dubbed “Operation Take Back.” The operation took place over the course of one day at three sites: the Randolph, NJ Municipal Building, the Mountain Lakes, NJ Fire Department, and a Stop and Shop Supermarket in Morris Plains, NJ.
According to an announcement made by the relevant departments and agencies, the breakdown of prescription drugs collected is as follows: authorities recovered 222 pounds in Morris Plains, 152 pounds in Mountain Lakes, and 142 pounds in Randolph Township.
Operation Take Back is a national initiative that encourages people to return unused or expired prescriptions and over-the-counter medications so they can be safely disposed. People are free to return the drugs without threat of being arrested because they do not have to provide any personal information.
In New Jersey, prescription drug possession is considered a serious criminal offense. As set forth by N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10:5, possession of prescription drugs is prohibited unless it has been authorized by a licensed physician, dentist, or pharmacist. The classifications and penalties for violating the law vary, depending on the type and quantity of prescription drugs. In some instances, a person found in possession of more than 100 prescription pills can be charged with second degree possession and face up to 10 years in NJ State Prison.
The “Operation Take Back” initiative is aimed at stopping abuse of prescription medications, with a particular focus on promoting public awareness of juvenile prescription drug abuse. According to acting Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp, the operation was vitally important because prescription drugs can be gateway drugs, with abuse of prescription medication being “a precursor to addiction to heroin and other hard drugs.”
For more information, access the NJ.com article entitled “516 Pounds of Medication Collected at Operation Take Back in Morris County.“