By Kiera Manion-Fischer | firstname.lastname@example.org | Posted:Thursday, March 17, 2011 8:50 pm | (3) Comments
SPRINGFIELD — A proposal pending in the state legislature may make it easier for police departments to pay for a prescription drug disposal program that began in Pontiac.
The Prescription Pill and Drug Disposal program, or P2D2, was launched about four years ago by students at Pontiac Township High School and their teacher, Paul Ritter. The program has spread to other communities and states.
Students were concerned that prescription drugs disposed of improperly, usually down household drains, were polluting groundwater.
High school students in Antioch heard about the program and brought the idea to state Rep. JoAnn Osmond, who is sponsoring a measure that will allow for the safe disposal of prescription drugs at local police departments.
Law enforcement agencies statewide can recoup the cost of incinerating the drugs through a $20 court fee added to every drug arrest in Illinois.
“Each police department that participates would be able to get a grant to recoup,” said Osmond, an Antioch Republican. State Reps. Keith Sommer, R-Morton, and Jason Barickman, R-Champaign, who represent the Pontiac area, signed on as co-sponsors to the measure.
The legislation was sent to the full House for further debate Thursday. Twelve high school students from Pontiac watched the committee hearing and three students visited from Antioch.
“Today is the culmination of all the hard work and efforts of students across Illinois who are wanting to have proper pharmaceutical disposal, responsible disposal, for the state of Illinois in every county. And so, in order for that to happen, there has to be a source of funding to make that possible,” said Ritter.
Michael Hall, a junior at Antioch Community High School and environmental club member, testified before the committee. He said local law enforcement supported the program but were concerned about funding, and that was why the legislation was needed.
Hall said prescription drugs can easily reach waterways.
“When people found out their kids were abusing these drugs, they decided to get rid of them, and they did by flushing them down the drain. And what does is that releases the medications into our water system,” Hall said.
The legislation is House Bill 2056.