Giving Illinois Valley residents a safe and ecological way to dispose of prescription medications is the goal of the Prescription Pill and Drug Disposal Program recently launched in Oglesby by the Illinois Valley Community Hospital. Outdated narcotic drugs can be taken to the Oglesby Police Department. Oglesby Police have installed a dropbox at the entrance door in which drugs can be placed. IVCH pharmacist Jennifer Sines, organizer of what’s being called the LaSalle County P2D2 program, says the reason for different drop off locations for different types of drugs is that, legally, only police agencies can receive controlled substances. Examples include pain killers, sleeping pills, and anti-anxiety drugs. “The police won’t ask any questions when narcotic drugs are dropped off,” says Sines. “All we ask is that the name on the bottle’s prescription label be blacked out with a marker.” Sines commended Health and Safety Commissioner Tom Porter and Police Chief James Knoblauch in Oglesby for their cooperation in getting the P2D2 program started locally. The drugs collected by the police departments will be picked up by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and be disposed of by incineration. “Until recently, consumers have been instructed to dispose of pharmaceuticals by flushing them down the drain or throwing them in the trash,” says Sines. “Both of these disposal methods are not environmentally sound practices.”
Sines says waste water treatment plants are not designed to remove chemicals found in prescription drugs. Pharmaceuticals put into landfills can leach into the surrounding soil and aquifer. “Either way, we are then dealing with the chemicals after they have entered the environment,” Sines says. “By collecting the drugs for incineration, the old adage ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ becomes very appropriate.”
Along with the P2D2 program there is a syringe take back program that the Oglesby Police Department will be participating in. We would prefer them to use a hard plastic container such as a laundry soap container or purchase an approved sharp container at the local pharmacy. These approved containers should have a way to lock the lid to prevent sharps from falling out.