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Zwicker, Freiman Help Host Prescription Drug Disposal Event at Hunterdon Healthcare

Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals Donates 5,000 Drug Deactivation Pouches

Assembly Democrats Roy Freiman and Andrew Zwicker yesterday joined other elected officials, healthcare executives, law enforcement officers and community leaders for a prescription drug disposal event at Hunterdon Healthcare featuring 5,000 drug deactivation pouches that were donated by Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals.

In many instances, the abuse and misuse of opioids began with prescription drugs that were left unsecured in the home, or not properly disposed, and then got into the wrong hands. A national survey found that 6 out of 10 U.S. adults using opioids had or expected to have leftover opioid pills.

Assemblymen Freiman and Zwicker co-hosted the event to provide a means of properly disposing these drugs. The donation will allow Hunterdon Healthcare, the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office and the Flemington Police Department to distribute the pouches free of charge to hospital patients and the community.

“When prescription medications and drugs are not properly disposed, the end result
can be tragic, because they can be stolen, misused, abused or accidently ingested,” said Assemblyman Freiman (D-Somerset, Mercer, Middlesex, Hunterdon). “They pose a risk to patients or members of their household, and can be taken by unsuspecting children, teens and adults who become addicted. Providing a means to properly dispose these medications and drugs is part of our tireless efforts to help combat the opioid abuse epidemic.”

A drug deactivation pouch is a user-friendly, specially-formulated sealed bag that neutralizes
prescription drugs. When filled with regular tap water, the pouch can be sealed, thrown away with household trash, and rendered safe for landfills. Approximately 225,000 pills can be destroyed if each of the 5,000 pouches is used to its 45-pill capacity.

“The opioid addiction crisis has caused families unimaginable pain and agony,” said Assemblyman Zwicker (D-Somerset, Mercer, Middlesex, Hunterdon). “In many instances, the seed for this addiction was planted unintentionally when drugs were left unattended and unsecured. This innocent act has destroyed families and taken lives too soon.”