Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Thousands of residents in Illinois and Indiana came out last Saturday with the goal of ridding their homes of unwanted pharmaceuticals as part of the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) 5th annual National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. police officers and volunteers in more than 200 locations in Illinois and 70 in Indiana collected bottles, boxes, and sometimes even garbage bags full of prescription and over-the-counter human and veterinary medications. Everything collected will be properly incinerated by the DEA.
IISG staffers were at two of these locations at Walgreens stores in Champaign and Urbana, joining local police officers and Walgreens representatives to collect medication, answer questions the about the environmental effects of throwing away or flushing pharmaceuticals, and provide information on how to safely dispose of medications when collection events are not available.
At both locations, people began lining up to hand over their medicine even before the event began. IISG volunteers at both locations heard from several people that they had been saving medications in anticipation of Saturday's event. Take-back event regulars brought medications accumulated just since April's DEA-sponsored event, but some brought pharmaceuticals with much older time stamps. One woman disposed of medicine she had been storing in her cabinet since 2005, and another brought in medication that was almost 20 years old. Exact figures on how many pounds of pharmaceuticals were collected during the 4-hour event won't be announced by the DEA for several weeks, but police officers involved in the event described the day as on track to exceed previous take-back days.
(Guest post by Anjanette Riley, IISG Science Writer)