17:00 PM

Safely Dispose of Prescription Drugs on National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Unused or expired prescription medications are a public safety issue, leading to potential accidental poisoning, misuse and overdose. Northwestern Medicine will participate in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day by hosting six collection sites from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 23rd. Community members can safely dispose of their unused medications at drive-up sites.

“Pharmaceutical drugs can be just as dangerous as street drugs when taken without a prescription or a doctor’s supervision,” said Mark P. Hanna, DO, a pain management specialist who treats patients at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital and Delnor Hospital. “Take-back programs are the best way to safely dispose of old drugs.”

According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, the non-medical use of prescription drugs ranks second only to marijuana as the most common form of drug abuse in America.

The 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found most misused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.

The six Northwestern Medicine drive-up collection sites are located at:

Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital
East Entrance Roundabout
25 North Winfield Road, Winfield

Northwestern Medicine Immediate Care St. Charles
(on the east side of the parking lot by Kirk Road)
2900 Foxfield Road, Suite 100, St. Charles

Northwestern Medicine Valley West Hospital
1302 North Main Street, Sandwich

Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital
Medical Records Building (one driveway south of main hospital)
2731 Sycamore Road, DeKalb

Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital
Bays Medical Building entrance
900 North Westmoreland Road, Lake Forest

Northwestern Medicine Huntley Hospital
Medical Office Building #2
10370 Haligus Road, Huntley

Event staff will wear masks and follow physical distancing protocols. Please wear a mask in your vehicle when interacting with event staff. Sharps and liquids will not be accepted, and Take Back Day is for community members, not for commercial organizations.

According to the Centers for Disease Control*, 136 people die every day from an opioid overdose. Roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them.

At Northwestern Medicine, efforts have been made to reduce the number of opioids providers prescribe, while also offering safe disposal options for patients, particularly after surgeries.

“The number of opioid pills prescribed after surgery can inadvertently exceed the number of pills taken by patients,” said David M. Kalainov, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. “This is a risk factor for opioid misuse and/or diversion of pills to others. Northwestern Medicine surgical providers are making strides to eliminate inadvertent opioid overprescribing, leveraging technology to focus more accurately on patient-specific pain medication needs after surgery.”

National Drug Take Back Day is a safe, convenient and responsible way to dispose of unused opioids and other prescription medications. If you throw unused medications in the trash, they can be retrieved and abused, or illegally sold. If you flush then, they can contaminate the water supply.

Find information about safe medication storage and disposal at nm.org/safemeddisposal.

For more information on prescription drug misuse, visit www.DEATakeBack.com*.