News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 29, 2010
Contact: SA Will Taylor
Public Information Officer
Drug Enforcement Administration
Chicago Field Division

Number: 312-886-2597

Prescription Drug Take-Back Program Results in the Collection
of Nearly 12,000 Pounds of Medication from the Chicago Area

SEP 29September 28, 2010 – (Chicago) On Saturday, September 25, 2010, over 4,000 collection sites sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) accepted unused, expired, and unwanted prescription drugs from community members in every state, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. The program was made possible through partnership with community, public health, and law enforcement throughout the country.

Nearly 300 collection sites were established in the five states of Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota. These five states comprise the Chicago Field Division of the DEA. Various law enforcement agencies co-sponsored the collection sites. In the Chicago metropolitan area, nearly 100 collection sites, sponsored by 66 law enforcement agencies, were set up to enable the safe disposal of prescription medications. From these Chicago area sites, over 11,800 pounds of prescription and over-the-counter drugs were anonymously submitted for proper destruction. Prevention First, an Illinois non-profit resource center committed to drug-free communities through education and prevention, partnered with the DEA to make this a successful event.

Specifically in the City of Chicago, each of the 25 Chicago Police Department district stations was a collection site. Collection from the Chicago Police Department locations resulted in nearly 4,600 pounds of medication collected for proper destruction.

Additionally, the initiative raised public awareness about the dangers of prescription drug diversion and abuse. The number of emergency room visits attributable to pharmaceuticals alone is up 97 percent from 2004 to 2008. Many Americans are not aware that medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. In fact, recent surveys reveal that 63 percent of teens believe that prescription drugs are easy to obtain from the medicine cabinet of friends and family. In addition, the survey revealed that 1 in 7 teens admit to abusing prescription drugs to get high in the past year.

“The DEA has a strong history of partnership with various law enforcement agencies to rid our communities of such drugs as heroin and cocaine. With the participation of community members, we’ve used those same partnerships to combat prescription drug abuse by removing medications that could potentially be illegally acquired by someone other than who they were prescribed for,” stated Jack Riley, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the DEA. “Those who illegally acquire controlled substances commonly abuse them or sell them for profit to a user on the street.”

"We are pleased that Chicago residents took advantage of the opportunity to discard their expired and unused medication at one of the 25 Chicago Police Department district facilities. We look forward to working with our law enforcement partners again to raise awareness about the dangers of keeping unused or expired medication in the home," stated Jody P. Weis, Superintendent, Chicago Police Department.

Over the next several days the DEA will be tabulating the total weight of all medications collected at the 4,000-plus locations that were a part of the Nationwide Take-Back program, with anticipation of releasing those totals in the near future.

Members of the community are encouraged to learn more about prescription drug abuse, as well as other drugs of abuse, at www.dea.gov and www.getsmartaboutdrugs.com. To learn more about prevention work carried out by Prevention First, as well as to obtain prevention resource materials, please visit www.prevention.org