News and Press Releases


April 20, 2011

On April 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Madison County Sheriff’s Department, the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department, and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) together with U.S. Attorney Stephen R. Wigginton are offering the public another important opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Persons who wish to get rid of expired, unused or unwanted medications should bring the medications for disposal to either the Madison County Sheriff’s Office at 405 Randle Edwardsville, IL, or the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office at 5th & "F" St. Belleville, IL. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

U.S. Attorney Steve Wigginton stated, “This is a very important opportunity to reduce the availability of dangerous prescription drugs to persons who wish to abuse them. Parents in the Metro-East area should know that many teenagers are pilfering prescription medications from your medicine cabinets and abusing these dangerous drugs. Some teenagers are attending ‘pharm parties’ where the prescription medications are shared and mixed and the teens have no idea of the dangers of what they are taking or the consequences of mixing medications. I strongly encourage everyone to take advantage of this opportunity and clean out your medicine cabinets. Sheriff Bob Hertz, Sheriff Mearl Justus and the DEA are giving you the chance to protect our youth and possibly save a teenager’s life.”

Madison County Sheriff Bob Hertz stated, “Prescription medication is a necessary health aid for those provided the prescription by a licensed physician. Once the medication is no longer needed, one should immediately dispose of it properly. This initiative provides citizens an excellent opportunity to protect others and our environment from abuse.”

According to St. Clair County Sheriff Mearl Justus, “There is a time in each of our lives when prescription medications provide much needed relief from pain and disease. Unfortunately, unused medications stored in your medication cabinet pose a risk to the safety of our citizens and to the environment. We have had a collection box permanently mounted in our lobby for almost a year. The success of this program has exceeded our expectations. I hope this national ‘Take Back’ day will encourage you to recycle your unneeded prescription drugs. Is it really that hard to take the time and gather unwanted meds to be dropped off into a secure collection box? Please take a few minutes out of your day to save the life of a friend, family member, or pet - and save the environment in the process! Don’t let your unneeded medications destroy someone’s life.”

DEA Special Agent in Charge Harry Sommers stated,“We know from research that more Americans currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those abusing cocaine, hallucinogens and heroin combined. When you couple that with the fact that the majority of Americans who abused prescription drugs got them from friends or family, you have a potentially deadly mixture of a ready supply meeting illicit demand. DEA is pleased to offer this initiative with our state and local law enforcement partners to address such a vital public safety and health issue by reducing the supply of unwanted prescription drugs.”

Last September, Americans turned in 242,000 pounds—121 tons—of prescription drugs at nearly 4,100 sites operated by the DEA and more than 3,000 state and local law enforcement partners, including the Madison and St. Clair County Sheriff’s Departments.

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. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including 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.

Four days after last fall’s event, Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an “ultimate user” of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them. The Act also allows the Attorney General to authorize long term care facilities to dispose of their residents’ controlled substances in certain instances. DEA has begun drafting regulations to implement the Act.

To find a collection site near you, visit



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