IDHS and IEPA urge Illinoisans to give back unused prescription drugs; Illinois and DEA partner for Drug Take Back Day 2019

For Immediate Release


Meghan Powers

Patrick Laughlin

IDHS and IEPA urge Illinoisans to give back unused prescription drugs; Illinois and DEA partner for Drug Take Back Day 2019

IDHS, IEPA, Prevention First and providers across the state collect unused prescription drugs

CHICAGO - On Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) is partnering with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Prevention First, and 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 460 tons (more than 900,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at more than 5,800 sites operated by the DEA and almost 4,800 of its state and local law enforcement partners. Overall, in its 16 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in almost 11 million pounds-nearly 5,500 tons-of pills.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. 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 and abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including someone else's medication being stolen from the home 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.

For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs go to and visit the IDHS Drug Take Back Activites Homepage for events happening at IDHS providers across the state. For drug prevention 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.

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.

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