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Prescription Drug Abuse an 'Epidemic' in Lacey

Drop-off box in police station advancing

The Lacey Township anti-drug task force is in the final stages of obtaining a drop-off box for unwanted prescription drugs, according to Township Committeeman Gary Quinn, liaison to the police department, who gave an update to the Municipal Alliance at its meeting Monday night.

Based on the success of annual prescription drug collections by the police, the Municipal Alliance and task force have been pushing to have a permanent drop box placed in the police station lobby for residents to deposit their unused pills. 

Quinn said they have submitted all the paperwork to the state Attorney General's office, which will give them the box itself, saving the town the $2,500 cost of the box.

"When emptying the box, it must be emptied by two police officers and the items collected must be locked in a storage room until there is enough to send for disposal," said Quinn. "The drugs will be taken to a site in North Jersey, where they will be incinerated."

Captain Dr. David A. Paprota of the Lacey Township Police Department told the Municipal Alliance members prescription drug abuse is the single most troubling issue facing the town currently.

Lacey has had as many as nine overdose deaths in a year, mostly from heroin or the prescription drugs oxycodone or roxicodone, he said. Lacey averages about 36 overdoses each year and has had 28 this year so far.

"Prescription drug abuse is an epidemic," said Paprota. "Hopefully, we will take steps to lessen the problem through the drop box."

Over the summer, Paprota spoke to the parents of Lacey Township High School's incoming freshmen during a school orientation. He said that he frankly told them some of the horror stories he has seen and urged them watch their kids for signs of drug abuse and check their cell phones and Facebook pages.

Oxycodone affects a wide range of people from kids as young as 15 using it as a party drug to a 40 year old man injured on the job getting hooked on it to people as old as 60 abusing it.

"People take it because they feel good on it," said Paprota. "In small doses they feel good, but once you pass a threshold, you no longer feel good — you have a dependence."

But, he said, doctors will only write people prescriptions for so long and those that become dependent find oxycodone and roxicodone are expensive — at $1 a milligram, it could cost $300 a day for the six to 10 pills a person might need to feed their addiction. 

The prescription drug dependence could escalate to heroin addiction, as heroin is $5 a bag, Paprota said. There have been 48 arrests for heroin or oxycodone dependence this year. 

"A modern today Lacey Township heroin dealer is 18 to 30 years old going to Neptune, Atlantic City or Camden buying a 'brick' of heroin, which is 50 bags," he said. "Out of the 50, they keep half for themselves."

If they don't make enough money on the sale of drugs, they turn to crime, Paprota said. There have been 13 house burglaries in Lacey in just the last couple of weeks and there was a 16 year old township girl who eventually prostituted herself in a nearby town to pay for drugs for her and her boyfriend.

"There are solutions such as the township ordinance that prohibits underage alcohol consumption in a private residence," said Paprota. He applauded the drop box and also suggested a centralized registry for prescriptions to stop people from filling prescriptions at multiple pharmacies. But, he stressed, parents are the key.

"We won't solve the problem with the drop box but we hope they bring attention to the issue," said Heather Scanlon, Municipal Alliance Coordinator. "We are dedicated to informing and educating the parents."

Randy Butternubs September 29, 2012 at 05:41 PM
"Drop off unwanted drugs program" . This is where my raised property taxes are going? What about flush the unused pills down the toilet program? Cost much less. Immediate. Who has extra Percocet in their medicine cabinet anyway? These pills aren't coming from old scripts. Back off on kids smoking pot and this problem will go away. The kids that grew up not doing anything wrong are the ones that became police to write tickets for overdue inspection stickers
Debbie October 02, 2012 at 01:51 AM
and what do you think the police are actually doing with these drugs that get dropped off????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
jimbojones3911 October 13, 2012 at 07:48 AM
yes, ask the children and report it to the police. the children will tell you where drugs are, hell being a former teen of the town.... I still know who sells. if you catch the ones selling weed they will lead you to the ones selling heroin to save themselves.... try it
Casey Wollmann March 13, 2014 at 08:05 AM
You wont ever stop it. You can really slow it down but you'll never stop it. People that are addicted to drugs or pain killers/percocet are going to do whatever they have to do to get it. Taking out dealers, any dealers, small or big doesnt matter does have a pretty big impact on the market. Finding them, and even the economic market gets affected. They get harder to find, and they get more expensive. Those two things sometimes are enough for people to finally give it up, atleast the ones that can still be saved. If Lacey PD or any PD really wants to get a hold on this shit, make an actual impact, and make it really hard to get a hold of these drugs, start taking the dealers out one by one, Big or Small doesnt matter it all has an effect. Tell you right now too, if the police and the courts actually followed through when they tell people that get in trouble for drug crimes, that if you help me ill help you and just took any information they get and followed through with it to take a dealer out big or small the effects of finding and buying drugs makes it ten harder. Probably agood 80-90% I would say of users are not dealers just consumers and will never venture into the dealing world. Take one out here one out there if they only knew the effects of even taking one dealer out, even someone that is small, how many people it touches. How many people either just lost their only source for the drugs and end up stopping just cause they cant get them anymore, or how much harder it makes to find them somewhere else. Cops need to listen up, and honestly in this game they want people to roll on others to attack the drug game, they actually have to give to take. Giving someone a second chance to erase the wrong they know they have done will probably get you more real information. Like I said I have been in this world for quite sometime, even the small petty dealer has a major impact on the consumers in your community.
Casey Wollmann March 13, 2014 at 08:34 AM
That and throw in some educational programs in the High schools. Middle school is to young in my opinion, I know some middle schoolers do drugs which just blows my mind seeing how young they are, but a real 95% of students that age havent been introduced to drugs or havent tried any. After High School people grow up feel as if are adults and make thier own choices and opinions for themselfs. But I think you hit the HighSchools hard with some real programs with younger adults twenties and young thirties that are either going through the problem now, or did and moved on with their lives I believe reach kids at that age sooooo much better then a police officer that comes in to talk, or a older drug councelor, or someone that never had never even been a drug addict. Ya know, tell them the stories in detail, dont leave things out. From start to finish, how you were just a normal good looking guy/girl, nice, sweet, innocent, played sports, was smart into school, was popular had tons of friends that had no real problems in life and all the opportunity to do what you want with your life and have a good one. Never thought experimenting one time on a weekend, started turning to lets do it next weekend, to lets do it every weekend, to starting to pick up during the week once or twice to wanting it everyday now, still oblivious to the problem, that you can stop when ever you want, im not really addicted or hasnt really impacted my life yet so no big deal. Till a year goes by and doesnt even cross your mind that you been avidly doing for a whole year now, your not hanging out with the same friends anymore, money becomes a problem, life just starts to become harder and have no idea why this keeps happening to you, things just dont go right for you anymore. Then before you know it another year is going by and now its just fully embedded in your life and you cant stop, alot of times you dont want to stop cause things keeps going bad and nothing good happens anymore in your life so you keep using to cope and feel better for the time being. It just gets worse and worse and worse for addicts. Usually at this point, jail, criminal records, failed relationships whether marriage or just friends, and deteorating familys start really shinning through. Been there, done that, seen it with just about all of my friends or what you think are your friends, all of their friends, people you know, people you meet in the game. Its not just you, its not just that person, it sooner or later effects EVERY SINGLE PERSON that takes drugs to that extent.

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