Leading up to the new year, a time of personal reset and renewal for many, Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart encourages the public to clear out their old medications through safe disposal to reduce the chance of poisoning, abuse and pollution.
With more than 80 take-back sites in Cook County, the Sheriff’s Prescription Take Back Program provides residents with a cost-free method to safely dispose of expired, unused and unwanted prescription medications.
“Much like checking smoke detector batteries around daylight saving time, we should be using the end of the year to properly dispose of unused prescriptions,” Sheriff Dart said. “Safe disposal of prescription medication reduces the chance of accidental poisoning or abuse and helps keep our drinking water safe.”
When taken without a prescription or medical supervision, pharmaceuticals can be as harmful as street drugs, heightening the importance of keeping unwanted medication inaccessible to those who may seek to abuse or sell it.
Given that water treatment facilities cannot remove the minuscule concentrations of chemicals found within prescriptions, flushing pharmaceuticals can pollute residential water and endanger aquatic life.
The Sheriff will announce the results of the take back efforts in the new year.
The Sheriff’s Prescription Drug Take Back Program began in 2012 through a partnership with the DEA and expanded in 2016 with a grant from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. Additionally, the Cook County Safe Disposal of Pharmaceuticals Ordinance went into effect earlier this year, requiring manufacturers to partake in the financial sustainability of collection sites across the County, without burdening the consumer.
The Sheriff’s Office operates a toll-free hotline, which the public can call for more information or with any questions regarding safe disposal of prescriptions: 1-84-GOT USED RX? (1-844-688-7379)