BLOOMINGTON (TNS) — Six million Americans misused prescription drugs during 2017, and most of the abused drugs were taken from the medicine cabinets of family members and friends, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
The majority of teens who report abuse of prescription drugs also get them from family and friends, and many of those drugs are taken from medicine cabinets without loved ones knowing, said Lisa Soliday, prevention specialist with Bloomington-based Project Oz, which helps at-risk youths.
"We need to keep medications out of the hands of people who abuse prescription drugs," Soliday said. "When people dispose of medications safely, there is less of a risk that people will get a hold of them and abuse them."
Central Illinoisans will have another opportunity to safely dispose of no-longer-needed prescription drugs.
The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, a twice-yearly event that allows people to safely dispose of unneeded or expired prescription drugs, is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at thousands of sites nationwide, including several in central Illinois.
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice's Drug Enforcement Administration, the take-back day is an attempt to reduce drug abuse and addiction, overdose deaths and accidental poisonings by keeping medicines, including opioid painkillers, away from people who shouldn't have them.
A second goal is to help the environment by discouraging disposal of medicines by dumping them down the toilet or sink, which means medicine could end up in the water supply, Soliday said.
During the most recent drug take-back day, on Oct. 27, 2018, 914,236 pounds of drugs were collected at 5,839 sites nationwide, according to DEA. That included 36,896 pounds of drugs collected at 188 sites in Illinois.
Agencies within the area participating in the day include: Peoria Police Department, 600 SW Adams; OSF HealthCare Center for Health, 8800 State Route 91, Peoria; Kroger pharmacy, 9219 N. Lindbergh Drive; Washington Police Department, 115 W. Jefferson St.; Morton Police Department, 375 W. Birchwood St.; Woodford County Sheriff's Office, 111 E. Court St., Eureka; Pekin Police Department, 111 S. Capitol St.; East Peoria Police Department, 201 W. Washington St.; Minier Police Department, 110 W. Central Ave.; Mason County Sheriff's Office at The Lodge, 1303 S. East Ave., Manito; and IGA, 201 W. Elm St., Mason City.