Better disposal methods and accountability for dangerous medications

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There is an ongoing opiate crisis that has hit the State of New Jersey and the country as a whole. The issue of prescription medications and heroin abuse is imminent and killing many everyday. Within the past few years, there has been numerous known cases in which heroin is being mixed with Fentanyl (a strong pain medication), in turn the heroin is being sold in the streets to unsuspecting victims. Due to the mixture, countless of people are dying from overdose to the point it is becoming overwhelming to law enforcement and the medical world etc... Fentanyl is normally bottled in clear glass vials and administered to patients in hospitals to curb extreme pain or given post surgery. One can only imagine, if this substance was ever sold at drug stores and pharmacies, the potential for a problem of a bigger magnitude then it currently is.

The reason I am bringing this to light is that I am a Law Enforcement professional who is a part of a Narcotics Unit in New Jersey. Recently, my unit recovered vials of Fentanyl along with several other types of drugs and weapons, on the street. Honestly, after recovering these items, it is the first time I have actually seen Fentanyl up close and at that point I realized how serious it was. With this, I asked myself "how does this type of medication even end up in the streets, when it should be secured in a hospital?" I am not a medical professional, but know many who are. So...I started asking several friends who are nurses and asked their protocol in dealing with these medications and their disposal at hospitals.  According to them, after medication such as Fentanyl is used once on a patient, the rest of the vial (usually still filled) is discarded in containers without no accountability for where it goes after. Routinely, the areas where these narcotics are being stored are frequented by nurses, doctors, technicians, administration, maintenance, cleaners etc... The potential for thefts are high. 

Legislation needs to be passed to ensure safe and efficient methods are used in disposing medications at hospitals, so they do not get in the hands of criminals and medical personnel without personal accountability. These medications are usually accounted for by lot numbers and after disposal, should be handled the same way. 

Many of us have a personal interest with this problem due to having family and friends who are either addicted, have been addicted, or have died from overdoses.

Please support this important issue that is hurting victims and families globally. Your support will let the politicians know that an action needs to be taken immediately.



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