Atlantic County residents are being asked to check their medicine cabinets for unwanted prescription drugs to bring to Atlantic City's new 24-hour Project Medicine Drop box.

Prescription drug use has been a growing problem among teens, as the drugs are easy to get right in their own homes, experts say. They have been named as a gateway drug to heroin.

On its website, the New Jersey Department of Consumer Affairs says the drop boxes are an important component "to halt the abuse and diversion of prescription drugs."

Atlantic City's box is in the Public Safety Building's lobby and is available 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week.

The boxes accept only solid pharmaceuticals, such as pills, capsules, patches, inhalers and pet medications. They cannot accept syringes or liquids.

The participating police agencies maintain custody of the deposited drugs and dispose of them according to their normal procedures.

The DCA generates a quarterly report of how much has been collected.

"Project Medicine Drop is an important component of my office's multi-tiered strategy to fight the epidemic of prescription drug abuse," state Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa said.

There have been more than 8,100 pounds of unwanted medications taken in at the 40 drop boxes in the state.

"I encourage all Atlantic County residents to spend a few minutes scouring their medicine cabinet for expired or unneeded drugs, and bring them to the Atlantic City Police Department's Project Medicine Drop box," Chiesa said.

“We pleased to be a participating in such a worthy project," Police Chief Ernest Jubilee said. "Any effort that could make our community safer from the abuse of prescription drugs is an important project to the Atlantic City Police Department."

The Public Safety Building is located at 2715 Atlantic Ave.

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