There's no way to know how many potential overdoses were averted Wednesday. But there can be no question that 2,960 pounds of unused prescription medications going up in smoke contributed greatly.

Operation Pill Burn (Ocean County Prosecutor's Office)

Ocean County detectives, under the auspices of County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato, set fire to them in what they're calling their largest pill-burn since the collection-and-destruction drive began in 2014. In seven burnings, some 13,340 pounds of pills have been incinerated.

The most visible component is Project Medicine Drop, with deposit points for surplus medications throughout Ocean County.

Agents Denis Mitchell and Anthony Carrington III (Ocean Co. Prosecutor's Office)

A growing number of police departments mainain secure drop boxes on their grounds, including Barnegat, Berkeley Township, Jackson, Lacey, Lakewood, Little Egg Harbor, Long Beach, Manchester, Waretown, Point Pleasant, Seaside Heights, Stafford, Toms River and Tuckerton.

"Unused medications often end up in the wrong hands, are used illegally, or find their way into our water supply," Coronato said in prepared remarks. "In the worst case scenarios these forgotten pain killing medications lead to addiction or teens becoming unwitting drug dealers".

Operation Pill Burn (Ocean County Prosecutor's Office)

Learn more about Project Medicine Drop at the County Prosecutor's web page. You will also find useful information about the Narcan Project, salvaging overdose victims' lives; and Tina's House, the refuge for abuse victims in the justice system.

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