Law Enforcement Wants Your Old Prescription Drugs

Chicago takes part in nationwide "take back" campaign Saturday; 90 Chicago-area locations available

By Jeff Goldblatt
|  Friday, Sep 24, 2010  |  Updated 6:13 PM CDT
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Nearly 100 <a title=Chicago-area locations on Saturday will take part in the nation's first-ever prescription drug "take back" campaign in an effort to raise awareness about the abuse of prescription drugs and save lives." />

Nearly 100 Chicago-area locations on Saturday will take part in the nation's first-ever prescription drug "take back" campaign in an effort to raise awareness about the abuse of prescription drugs and save lives.

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Nearly 100 Chicago-area locations on Saturday will take part in the nation's first-ever prescription drug "take back" campaign in an effort to raise awareness about the abuse of prescription drugs and save lives.

DEA.GOV: National Take Back Initiative Collection Site Search

A lot of parents may think, "Not my kid. No way," but according to the Drug Enforcement Agency, prescription pills now rank second to marijuana as the drug of choice to get high.

"The numbers are staggering. If you look at the percent of people 12 years or older who have abused prescription drugs, it's increased by 13 percent over the last two years," said Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.

He and Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis took part in a Friday afternoon press conference to drum up support for participation of the program in the Chicago area.

"Many of these are addictive as more illegal drugs, such as heroine or methamphetamine. So I think we have to do whatever we can to try and get these off the streets, and oftentimes having a sick parent or a sick adult will allow a young person to have access to those drugs," said Weis.

Prescription drug abuse has risen 400 percent in the past decade, according to the U.S. Department of Health’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and is now the nation's fastest-growing drug problem.

Old drugs previously were often flushed down the drain or thrown in the garbage, but those options pollute the environment. And it's all the more reason why those on the front lines of the prescription drug battle are asking people to let law enforcement to destroy the old pills.

"We've got to get them out of the house because the kids, of course, are always very curious," said Weis.

There are about 4,000 collection sites available nationwide on Saturday. Law enforcement says that all the pills will be accepted anonymously, with no questions asked.

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