Above: (left to right) Jim Ward of Walgreens, Bergen County Sheriff Anthony Cureton, and Gottheimer discuss the ongoing opioid epidemic.
Today, Monday, August 5, 2019, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) visited the Walgreens pharmacy in Waldwick with Bergen County Sheriff Anthony Cureton and Walgreens Area Healthcare Advisor Jim Ward to discuss how North Jersey communities are fighting back against the opioid crisis and drug abuse.
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.
The Walgreens pharmacy in Waldwick is the first 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 is urging Walgreens to install medication disposal kiosks at more of their locations throughout North Jersey.
Recently disclosed data from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration revealed 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.
“No community is immune to the opioid crisis ravaging America’s families. North Jersey is absolutely no exception,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “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 continued, “I’m incredibly grateful for the work of pharmacies like Walgreens and of Sheriff Cureton to ensure 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.”
To date, Walgreens’ kiosks have allowed for the safe disposal of more than 1.2 million pounds of unwanted medications nationwide. Every Walgreens pharmacy that does not yet have a kiosk provides 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.
Below: Gottheimer discusses health care issues with a constituent at the Walgreens in Waldwick.