|OPERATION TAKE BACK NEW JERSEY
GUARD KEY TO OPERATION'S SUCCESSBy Sgt. Wayne Woolley, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Public Affairs
Photo by Kryn P. Westhoven, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Public Affairs
The New Jersey National Guard Counter Drug Task Force was a key player in a recent U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency operation to collect and dispose of more than seven tons of unused, unwanted and expired medication to prevent the drugs from changing hands and being abused.
Operation Take Back New Jersey allowed state residents to rid their homes of drugs they no longer need as a way of ensuring they weren't diverted and abused or sold by young people with access to the medicine cabinet.
Over a four-hour span on Sept. 25, people turned in drugs, including widely abused narcotics such as Vicodin and Oxycodone, to collection points operated by 365 of New Jersey's law enforcement agencies.
"The National Guard was among the agencies that were instrumental in making this operation such a success."
JOHN G. MCCABE JR.
Members of the National Guard's Counter Drug Task Force transported the drugs for safekeeping at a DEA office in South Jersey and then on to an incinerator several days later.
"The National Guard was among the agencies that were instrumental in making this operation such a success," said John G. McCabe Jr., the acting Special Agent in Charge of the DEA's New Jersey Division.
Master Sgt. Joseph Prieto and 1st Lt. Alex Ramirez of the Counter Drug Task Force were on hand for McCabe's announcement.
DEA officials say the most important aspect of the drug collection program is to raise public awareness of the dangers of prescription drug misuse. Officials cited statistics compiled by the University of Michigan's Monitoring the Future, which found a 111 percent increase in emergency room visits associated with the non-medical use of narcotic painkillers between 2004 and 2008.
"The majority of young people who abuse (prescription) drugs get it from a family member, a friend and the home medicine cabinet," he said. "With this program, we are trying to eliminate the home medicine cabinet as a potential source of abuse for our youth."
|(c) 2011 NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs