Howell Can Pick Up Unused Prescriptions For Disposal

Prescription medication. (File photo)
Prescription medication. (File photo)

HOWELL – The Howell Alliance and Howell Police Department recently launched the township’s first complimentary prescription drug pick-up service.

Project Medicine Drop allows residents to properly dispose of unused, expired, and unwanted prescriptions or over-the-counter medications. The drop box is located at the Howell Police Department at 300 Old Tavern Road. In coordination with the Project Medicine Drop program, Howell now offers residents the option to have their prescriptions picked up at their homes for proper disposal.

According to Howell Alliance Coordinator Christa Riddle, on March 1, “the Howell PD and Howell Alliance launched our new prescription disposal at-home police pick-up of unwanted meds. To our knowledge, we are the first town to offer this.”

For those who may not be able to make it to the police department or have trouble leaving the house, the township now offers this free pick-up service.

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“Captain [John] Storrow and I were brainstorming on how to best serve our senior population in Howell who can’t always get to take-back events or the Project Medicine Drop box at police headquarters,” said Riddle. “We wanted a way to immediately divert the prescriptions, particularly pain medications, from getting into the wrong hands.”

The at-home pickup option was Captain Storrow’s idea, according to Riddle.

“We felt it would be an inconvenience for some of our elderly population to get out of bed, get dressed, and drive to headquarters where the drop box is located to dispose of their medications. So we decided that instead of them coming to us, we would come to them,” Captain Storrow told The Howell Times. “Then we decided that if we’re going to do it for the elderly we may as well open it up and provide this service to all residents.”

The police department non-emergency number now has a dispatch code for incoming calls regarding prescription pickup.

According to the Alliance, “misused prescription drugs can lead to heroin and other drug addictions…the majority of abused prescription drugs come from family, friends, and home medicine cabinets.”

One of the Alliance’s main concerns is having people leaving unused prescriptions to accumulate “with the good intention of dropping them off in the future.”

With this new service, Howell Alliance and Police are working to eliminate this as a risk factor.

The target audience for this service is seniors; however, Riddle explained that all Howell residents are encouraged to use it because “getting unwanted, unused, and expired medications out of the household is a huge step in prevention efforts.”

When disposing of prescription medications, you can put them in the Alliance’s prescription disposal bag, available at pharmacies in Howell, the courthouse, town hall, the board of education building, the senior center, and the library, among other locations.

“While the bags are not necessary for disposal, they serve as a reminder to clean out your medicine cabinet on a regular basis to save a life,” Riddle said.

The bags were designed by Riddle in 2014 when she was just a volunteer for the organization, prior to becoming coordinator. They display drug abuse prevention messages.

Captain Storrow noted that while the department would prefer that able-bodied residents take their unused prescriptions to police headquarters and drop it in the drop box on their own, “we will assist them by coming to them if it helps them for any particular reason.”

For more information on Project Medicine Drop or the new pick-up service, contact the Alliance at 732-938-4500 ext. 4012 or visit twp.howell.nj.us/169/Municipal-Alliance. Howell citizens can call the non-emergency police number at 732-938-4111 to request a prescription pick-up.