Gottheimer Applauds Pharmacy Effort to Help Combat Opioid Crisis
Representative Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., visited a Walgreens pharmacy in Waldwick, New Jersey with Bergen County Sheriff Anthony Cureton to discuss how local communities are addressing the opioid crisis and substance abuse in general.
Deaths from drug overdoses in New Jersey have steadily risen over the past four years, resulting in more than 3,100 drug overdose deaths in the state in 2018.
Walgreens Area Healthcare Advisor Jim Ward invited the congressman and the sheriff to Waldwick Walgreens because it is the chain’s first store in the Fifth Congressional District to include a safe medication disposal kiosk.
Walgreens is planning to roll out additional kiosks to have a total of 1,500 kiosks nationwide by the end of the year. Gottheimer, meanwhile, is urging Walgreens to install medication disposal kiosks at more of their locations throughout North Jersey.
According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, 76 billion oxycodone and hydrocodone pain pills, two of the most common prescription opioids, were distributed in the United States in a six year period as the opioid epidemic spun out of control.
That’s about 248 pills per person living in the United States.
“No community is immune to the opioid crisis ravaging America’s families. North Jersey is absolutely no exception,” said Representative Gottheimer. “With more than 3,000 drug overdose related deaths in Jersey in 2018, working together with our local law enforcement, including the Bergen County Sheriff’s office, and with our pharmacies, doctors, and the rest of the medical community is the only way to beat this epidemic.”
Gottheimer also expressed his gratitude to Walgreens and Sheriff Cureton for ensuring North Jersey residents have access to safe disposal systems for unwanted prescriptions and medications.
“Having dangerous prescription drugs sitting around is extremely dangerous for our families and children. We have to be attacking the epidemic of opioid and drug abuse from every angle,” the representative said.
To date, Walgreens’ kiosks have allowed for the safe disposal of more than 1.2 million pounds of unwanted medications nationwide. Walgreens pharmacies that do not yet have a disposal kiosk on-site, provide free DisposeRx kits to safely discard unused medications at home and render drugs unusable.
Walgreens has 19 locations throughout the Fifth Congressional District, with over 600 employees.