Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Residents in Illinois and Indiana once again took full advantage of a national prescription drug take back event last Saturday, bringing unwanted pharmaceuticals to one of hundreds of collection locations set up throughout the region for the one-day event. And IISG staffers were again at two of the locations at Walgreens stores in Champaign and Urbana to talk about the risks pharmaceuticals pose to aquatic environments and answer questions about how to safely dispose of medicine between take back days.
By the end of the 4-hour event, officials in Champaign and Urbana had collected 12 large boxes of unused prescription and over-the-counter medication. These and other boxes collected throughout the country will be properly incinerated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). A final tally for how many pounds of pharmaceuticals were collected during the sixth National Take-Back Day will be announced by the DEA in the coming weeks. Last September, Illinois residents brought in over 21,000 pounds of unwanted medicine for proper disposal, followed closely by Indiana's 18,560 pounds. More than 2 million pounds of medicine have been disposed of nation-wide since the take-back days began in 2010.
IISG volunteers were also onsite to tell residents of the two cities about a new year-round collection program launching May 24. Like last year, many who brought in pharmaceuticals–often by the bagful–said they had been holding onto their medications for months, waiting for the next collection day. Permanent collection boxes at the Champaign, Urbana, and University of Illinois police departments means residents will no longer have to wait for single-day events like these to rid their homes of unwanted pharmaceuticals.
The permanent program comes at the same time officials at DEA are considering ending its national events in favor of more localized programs. In December 2012, DEA proposed regulations that would make it easier for manufacturers and retail pharmacies to set up permanent collection programs. DEA has said it will end National Take-Back Days once the regulations are approved, making last week's one of the last.
To learn more about permanent programs operating in your area, or for information on how to dispose of medicine where collections are not available, visit www.unwantedmeds.org.