Prescription drug disposal box installed in police station

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By Community Editor

COURTESY OF VILLAGE OF OAK PARK

Prescription drug collection is now a regular feature at Village Hall, following in the installation of a new, permanent collection unit in the Police Department at 123 Madison St.

Collection of expired or unwanted prescription drugs here began as part of an annual program, the National Take-Back Initiative, which is sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration. The program's goal is to curb abuse by collecting and safely disposing of prescription drugs.

The Oak Park Police Department has participated for the past two years, and the success of the most recent event on Oct. 26 prompted Chief Rick Tanksley to investigate a more permanent solution.

"Given that abuse of prescription drugs is a major issue, I felt it was important to provide a year-round way for residents to safely dispose of medications," Tanksley says.

The department installed a MedReturn Drug Collection Unit, purchased using a grant from the Illinois EPA, in the lobby of the police station.

The unit, which functions very much like a postal drop box, is securely anchored to the floor and will be able to collect up to 50 pounds of material, though it will not be able to take needles or other medical waste. Police personnel will log and dispose of the drugs in accordance with established procedures.

Safe disposal of drugs is becoming increasingly important, as trace residues of some medications can turn up in the water supply. The FDA has a list of tips for proper drug disposal and advises against flushing most prescription drugs.

The Oct. 26 event in the police station gathered about 85 pounds of unused or expired medications during a four-hour period. For more information on the new prescription drug collection unit, email police@oak-park.us.

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