Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from their medicine cabinets.
On Saturday, you can safely dispose of those unused prescriptions at drop-off sites set up by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Law enforcement officials are urging residents to dispose of unused prescription opioids, in particular.
“Our Chicago area communities are being affected by a national opioid epidemic. This has been spurred, in part, by the rise of misuse of prescription opioids,” DEA Chicago Division Special Agent in Charge Brian McKnight said in 2018.
In 2016, there were more than 63,600 drug overdose deaths, and about 66 percent of those fatalities involved an opioid, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fatal opioid overdoses—from both prescription opioids and illegal opioids like heroin—were five times higher in 2016 than in 1999.
Unused medicines should not be flushed down the toilet or thrown in the garbage—both practices can pose potential safety and health hazards. Instead, dispose of them at DEA-sponsored sites from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, no questions asked. The DEA can’t accept liquids, needles or illicit drugs. Click here to find a drop-off site near you.
Can't make it Saturday? Walgreens provides medication disposal kiosks in its stores.
Note: This story was originally published April 26, 2018. It has been updated.