City participates in national drug take-back

Amanda Gilbert

Evanston residents participated in the annual RX Take-back Day on Saturday to dispose of unwanted prescription drugs at James Park, located at the intersection of Oakton Street and Dodge Avenue.

The event, sponsored by the City of Evanston and nonprofit drug abuse prevention agency PEER Services, aims to keep residents from improperly disposing of their prescription drugs, Evanston Police Department spokesman Cmdr. Jay Parrott said.

“Prescription drugs can be just as dangerous as other illicit drugs that are illegal if they are not properly disposed of,” Parrott said.

People and animals could be endangered by ingesting drugs in the garbage can, he said, adding that drugs flushed down the toilet enter the water system and harm life in the Great Lakes.

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s website, more than 5,327 sites around the country participated in the National Prescription Drug Take-back Day. DEA’s office of diversion control reported collecting more than 377,086 pounds of unwanted or expired medications during take-back day last year.

“I don’t know how this year is compared to last year nationally,” Parrott said. “I know Evanston did exceptionally well though this year. We turned in much more prescription drugs than what was anticipated.”

EPD took the collected drugs to a facility that properly disposes of them, he added.

Lake Zurich, Ill., resident Joyce Renz drove for more than an hour to Evanston on Saturday to dispose of her unwanted prescription drugs.

“Evanston is the closest location to my house that allows me to dispose of my unwanted medicine,” she said. “The drive to Evanston is worth it because I know I’m properly getting rid of it instead of just throwing it in the garbage can.”

Renz added she praises Evanston’s effort.

“I’m glad everything is in good hands,” she said.

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