By Maddy Vitale
Ocean City Patrolman Chris Vivarelli, a member of the Community Policing Unit, remarked Thursday, that in just a few hours, at least 10 residents dropped off bags of expired or unused medications, at a drop box in the Community Center, 1735 Simpson Ave., for “Project Medicine Drop.”
The state’s program is designed to ensure medications are not getting into the wrong hands, and is a way for people to properly dispose of unwanted pills, that is both convenient and environmentally safe.
“A gentleman just came in with a big bag of medications. This has been one of the most successful events we have had so far,” Vivarelli said, adding that 8.5 pounds of medicine were collected throughout the day.
The drop off was from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and are done quarterly. In the past, Vivarelli said the drop boxes were at an area pharmacy for the day.
Vivarelli said some of the success of the program, could be attributed to the partnership with the Ocean City Community Center to hold the drop off at the highly trafficked center. The building features a senior center, a library, aquatic center, and other activities, so there are a lot of people in and out throughout the day who see Vivarelli and the medicine drop box. Fliers were also hung up and email notifications were sent out about the event.
Ocean City resident Sandy McMahon brought a bag of unwanted medications she was happy to hand over to Vivarelli.
“I’ve had them for over a couple of years,” McMahon said. “I didn’t want to flush them down the toilet. That is not environmentally safe.”
Mary O’Connor, of Ocean City, said, “I didn’t want them in the wrong hands, and I wanted to dispose of them safely.”
Some people, such as Andrew Gesler, of Egg Harbor Township, walked by the drop box and stopped to find out about the program.
“I have medications at home I would definitely like to drop off,” Gesler said.
“It’s nice that people come up and ask, so that they know for next time,” Vivarelli said.
Many departments have medicine drop boxes. A couple of years ago, Ocean City’s Police Department installed one that people could anonymously drop off medications to 24/7, 365 days a year, Ocean City Police Captain Steve Ang said.
“The focus of this program is we don’t want more opioids and narcotics out there,” Ang said. “People should never take someone else’s medications or use expired medications that may not have the same potency as it did when it was issued years ago by a doctor. This program lets people dispose of unwanted medications safely and easily.”
Ang said the police department turns over the medications to the state to properly dispose of them.
Ocean City Police Department is located at 835 Central Ave. For more information visit www.ocnj.us/police/ or visit the department’s Facebook page.