CHICAGO (CBS) — Experts say some opiate addicts get their start by using prescription drugs left in the home. This weekend, at more than two dozen police departments in the Chicago area, there is a way to do something about that.
Saturday is the Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. It’s a day when police departments, across the country, will accept your old prescription drugs, so they can be disposed of safely and kept out of landfills and waterways.
About 25 police departments in the Chicago area are taking part, including Orland Park, whose police chief Tim McCarthy said, “they’re needed for pain in some cases, but oftentimes, there’s a lot left over. Let’s get them out of the medicine cabinets and out of the homes and get them destroyed properly.”
McCarthy said left-over prescription drugs in the home are one source for getting people hooked on opiates.
“You hear many times, people have knee surgeries and things like that and they’re issued several weeks of opioids and they don’t use them and they want to get rid of them. I had someone give me some on Monday, in fact came up to me and said, ‘can you get rid of these,’ and of course, I was happy to do it,” he said.
McCarthy also said turning drugs in is a good thing from an environmental standpoint.
“We don’t want people flushing those things down the toilet or throwing them in the garbage. We hear anecdotal and factual accounts that these things end up in our waterways and our landfills,” he said.
Chief McCarthy agrees with President Trump that there is an opioid crisis in America but, he said, it’s been a crisis for a long time.
“Every community is experiencing overdoses and deaths from opioids,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy said the Orland Park Police Department has collected more than 5,000 pounds of prescription drugs since 2012. He figures more than a 1,000 pounds of unwanted or expired prescription drugs will be taken to his police department this year alone, including a couple of hundred pounds on Saturday.
The Orland Park Police Department takes back drugs four days a week, Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. throughout the year in addition to the one-day national event.
To find out the nearest police department accepting drugs Saturday for the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, visit the National Take Back Initiative Collection Site.
In Orland Park, drugs can be turned over at the police department on 151st and Ravinia on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.