Cape May County has a high-ranking history in the state for opioid prescriptions as well as overdose deaths. So it took a step forward in the fight against the opioid epidemic by becoming the first county to deploy prescription drug boxes in all 12 police stations, including the State Police barracks in Woodbine.

Cape May County Freeholder Director Gerald Thornton said that when people don't know what to do with their expired or unused drugs in their medicine cabinet, they'll often flush them down the toilet or toss them in the trash.

Drugs in trash attract addicts, while flushing medication results in the chemicals contaminating waterways.

Thornton said people can go to any of the police stations with their expired or unused meds with the label torn off. Just drop them in the boxes at any time, no questions asked.

Joseph Faldetta, director of prevention at Cape Assist, said the number of opioids dispensed in the county has been on the steady decline. In 2015, there were more than 105,000 opioid prescriptions dispensed, while there were 75,000 last year.

In 2017, Cape May County saw the most opioid prescriptions dispensed for every resident in the state, at a ratio of one prescription for every resident, according to the state Attorney General's Office statistics released in September.

Thornton said even though Cape May is a small county, there are problems. Because it's a tourist destination, he said the town goes from approximately 94,000 residents a year to 750,000 to 800,000 visitors a week in the summer.

The drop boxes are used by police departments and sheriff's offices throughout the state.

The mayor of Sea Isle City said the box collected more than 27 pounds of pills and narcotics in a single week.

The drop boxes, made from repurposed mail boxes, are painted with the phrase: "For too many New Jerseyans, addiction begins in the medicine cabinet."





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