BLOOMINGTON — Two-thirds of teens who report abuse of prescription drugs get them from family and friends, and many of those drugs are gradually taken from medicine cabinets without loved ones knowing.
"We want to get unused and unneeded prescription drugs out of medicine cabinets," said Lisa Soliday, prevention specialist with Project Oz, which helps at-risk youth.
Central Illinoisans will have another opportunity on Oct. 27 to safely dispose of no-longer-needed prescription drugs.
The occasion is the 16th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, a twice-yearly event that allows people to safely dispose of unneeded or expired prescription drugs.
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 27, thousands of sites nationwide, including several in Central Illinois, will accept drugs for safe disposal.
"Nearly 80 percent of people who use heroin started by abusing prescription drugs," Soliday said Friday. "It's important to get these drugs out of people's homes so they aren't misused or abused."
The U.S. Department of Justice's Drug Enforcement Administration sponsors National Prescription Drug Take Back Day to reduce drug abuse and addiction, overdose deaths and accidental poisonings by keeping medicines away from people who shouldn't have them.
A second goal is to discourage disposal of medicine by dumping it down the toilet or sink, which means the medicine could end up in the water supply.
During the 15th drug take-back day on April 28, a record-high 949,046 pounds of drugs were collected at 5,842 sites nationwide, according to DEA. That included 37,172 pounds of drugs collected at 196 sites in Illinois.
All 15 drug take-back events have collected 9,964,714 pounds of drugs, including 481,732 in Illinois, DEA said.
Agencies participating in drug take-back day include Bloomington Police Department, 305 S. East St.; Normal Police Department (with Project Oz's Youth Action Board), 100 E. Phoenix Ave.; Danvers Police Department, 105 S. Broadway; Heyworth Police Department, 108 S. Buchanan; McLean Police Department, 110 S. Main St.; El Paso Police Department, 540 E. Main St.; Minier Police Department, 110 W. Central Ave.; Woodford County Sheriff's Office, 111 E. Court St., Metamora; Morton Police Department, 375 W. Birchwood St.; Live Well Streator at Streator City Park, southwest corner parking lot on Hickory Street; Pekin Police Department, 111 S. Capitol St.; and Decatur Police Department, 707 W. South Side Drive.