Urbana—Communities across central Illinois will have an opportunity to safely dispose of unwanted medications this month. Another National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day will take place on Saturday, April 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Residents can drop off their unused medications free of charge at Walgreens stores at 841 Bloomington Road in Champaign or at 302 E. University Avenue in Urbana.
Local police departments will anonymously collect both prescription and over-the-counter medications—including pet medications—at participating Walgreens stores in Champaign, Urbana, Mahomet, Rantoul, Danville, Monticello, Effingham, Taylorville, Pana, Mattoon, Charleston, Bourbonnais, and Kankakee. Sharps/syringes will not be accepted. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) will incinerate all medicines collected. To find the participating Walgreens locations near you, visit www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback.
“Flushing medications down the toilet or throwing them in the trash threatens the safety and health of humans, pets, and the environment,” said Samantha Murphy, district loss prevention manager at Walgreens. “Walgreens is committed to helping people properly dispose of their unwanted medicine.”
Recent studies have found a wide-range of pharmaceutical chemicals in rivers, groundwater, and drinking water throughout the country. These chemicals can kill bacteria needed to break down waste in sewage plants and harm fish and other wildlife. Storing unneeded medicines in the home is also the cause of thousands of accidental poisonings in children and pets each year.
“Awareness of the risks is growing, but finding a collection isn’t always easy,” said Laura Kammin, pollution prevention program specialist at Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant. “The DEA Take-Back event makes it simple to get rid of medications you no longer need.”
This is the sixth DEA-led pharmaceutical collection day held since 2010. In that time, more than 2 million pounds of medication have been collected by law enforcement agencies and community partners nationwide.
To learn more about the effects of improper pharmaceutical disposal and for information on how to store and dispose of medication safely when take-back programs are not available, visit unwantedmeds.org.
Contributed by our friends at the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant