This Saturday, April 29, 2017, is “National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day” in which sites are set up in communities around the country so that residents can return their unwanted, unneeded or expired prescription drugs for safe disposal.
Ever since my old employer, The Associated Press, did a series on how prescription drugs are contamining our water supply, I have avoided just flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash. I worry about kids getting their hands on them, too.
Saturday’s event is a national effort organized by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration. These events have been held regularly since 2010 and have collected more than 5.5 million pounds of drugs. At last spring’s event, 24 tons of prescription drugs were collected in Illinois alone.
The service is free and anonymous, and no questions are asked. Drop-offs will be accepted on Saturday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Central time. You can search for a collection site near you here — just enter your zip code and how far you’re willing to travel. Inquiries can also be made by calling 1-800-882-9539.
Here are a few collection sites I found located within 25 miles of Geneva, but new sites are being added every day:
- Sugar Grove Police Department, 10 S. Municipal Drive in Sugar Grove
- St. Charles Police Department, 211 N. Riverside Avenue in St. Charles
- Algonquin Police Department, 2200 Harnish Drive in Algonquin
- Villa Park Police, 40 S. Ardmore in Villa Park
- Hoffman Estates Police Department, 411 W. Higgins Road in Hoffman Estates
If Saturday isn’t a good fit for you …
Kane County Recycles offers this great guide to places that take expired and unwanted pharmaceutical drugs, including Walgreens, police departments and the coroner’s office. Some of these have residency requirements, but most don’t – and some are available 24/7!
Here’s a similar guide for DuPage County, outlining a program called the “DuPage County Rx Box” at more than a dozen police department locations.
The Fox Metro Water Reclamation District at 682 Route 31 in Oswego also accepts unwanted medications year-round at its administration building. The hours are from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Here’s a detailed guide to how they want the medicines packaged when brought in for collection.
It’s another task to add to your spring cleaning list, but it indeed an important one.