Illinois and DEA partner for Second Drug Take Back Day of 2019


For Immediate Release

October 25, 2019


Meghan Powers

Patrick Laughlin

Illinois and DEA partner for Second Drug Take Back Day of 2019

IDHS, IEPA, and substance use prevention providers across the state collect unused prescription drugs

SPRINGFIELD/CHICAGO - On Saturday, October 26, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) is partnering with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and substance use prevention providers across the state to give the public an opportunity to prevent prescription drug abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Use the collection site locator at to find a site near you for pill disposal. (Sites cannot accept liquids or needles or sharps, only pills or patches.) The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

Last fall Americans turned in nearly 469 tons (more than 937,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at nearly 6,300 sites operated by the DEA and nearly 5,000 of its state and local law enforcement partners. Overall, in its 17 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in more than 11.8 million pounds-approximately 5,900 tons-of pills.

This bi-annual initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion and misuse. Rates of prescription drug misuse in the United States are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows year after year that the majority of misused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including medications that are stolen from someone else's medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines - flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash - both pose potential safety and health hazards.

IEPA has also designated nearly 100 medication collection locations throughout the state. A complete list of the community partners can be found on the IEPA website. The nearly 100 collection sites across the state serve over 10 million residents. In 2018, nearly 30,000 pounds of medications were collected from these sites. IEPA has also developed a mapping tool to allow residents to easily identify nearby collection sites. Residents are encouraged to use the identified collection sites to help ensure the safe disposal of collected medications. Individuals should contact their collection location to confirm availability as not all locations will be open on Saturday.

For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs go to For substance use prevention and the Guard and Discard prescription drug campaign resources, visit Prevention First at Prevention First is funded in whole or in part by the Illinois Department of Human Services, Division of Substance Use Prevention and Recovery through a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

If you or someone you know is experiencing opioid use disorder or other substance use disorders, call the Illinois Helpline for Opioids and Other Substances at 1-833-2FINDHELP or visit