As the State Division of Consumer Affairs rolls out its new pilot program called Project Medicine Drop, the director tells us the thought behind the three towns they selected and the goal of the pilot project.

Earlier this week State Attorney General Paula Dow announced the launch of the new project where people can drop off unused and unwanted prescription drugs in Seaside Heights, Little Falls and Vineland for safe disposal 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Consumer Affairs Director Tom Calcagni says the participating towns were selected for several reasons. He says first, they're regionally located in the North, Central and Southern parts of the State. He says the communities have also participated in drug enforcement efforts with the Division in the past and expressed an interest in assisting with future efforts. He says "for instance Chief Boyd and the Seaside Heights Police Department worked closely with us on an enforcement effort over the summer that targeted the sale of illegal designer drugs on the Seaside Heights Boardwalk."

Calcagni says the goal of the pilot project is to monitor the amount of drugs collected, the security of the drugs and the ability of the towns to dispose of controlled dangerous substances. He says "before we expand this project to include additional partners, we really want to get a better sense as to how much prescription medications police departments can expect and to gage whether existing protocols and resources for the handling and destruction of that medication is adequate."

As far as the security of the drugs collected. Calcagni says "they've entered into a memoranda of understanding with police departments that are a part of this program and they've agreed to secure all of these drop boxes to the floor, to the walls, inside their facilities within sight of staff."

He says the pilot will be funded through the state CDS registration program. He says it comes from the annual fee paid by those registered with the state to prescribe, dispense and sell CDS in New Jersey.

Calcagni says they're also hoping to educate people about the shift in drug abuse battle fronts. He says the issue of drug diversion and abuse has moved from predominantly urban areas to suburban households. He says the Project Medicine-Drop pilot program will also be combined with a robust public awareness campaign.

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