The public has an opportunity to get rid of any expired, unused or unwanted prescription drugs in their possession as part of the Drug Enforcement Administration's "Take Back" collection, which will be held at various locations later this week.
A collection in Danville will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Vermilion County Courthouse, 7 N. Vermilion St.
Another in Tuscola will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the same day at the Douglas County sheriff's office, 920 S. Washington St.
The service is free and anonymous, "no questions asked," according to a release. All drugs that are collected will be disposed of.
The federal drug agency aims to prevent pill abuse and theft by giving people a safe way to rid their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription medication.
Last April, Americans turned in 371 tons — more than 742,000 pounds — of prescription drugs at over 5,800 sites operated by the DEA and its thousands of state and local law enforcement partners, the release said. In its six previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners took in more than 1,400 tons — or 2.8 million pounds — of pills.
Officials said the initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue as medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.
Officials went on to say 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, such as flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash, pose potential safety and health hazards.
According to the release, the Drug Enforcement Agency is in the process of approving new regulations that implement the Safe and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an "ultimate user" — the patient or pet or their family member or owner — 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.