Drug take back event exceeds expectations

Drug take back event exceeds expectations

STAUNTON (May 10, 2018) – A three-hour drug takeback event held in Macoupin and Montgomery counties Saturday, April 28, resulted in hundreds of pounds of old and unused medications being removed from homes and taken to local pharmacies for proper disposal.

Participating pharmacies reported collecting 50 pounds or more of unwanted medications each, including dozens of bottles containing the kinds of controlled substances that fuel opioid addiction.

State Sen. Andy Manar expressed gratitude to everyone who participated, particularly the citizens who dropped off medications and the pharmacists who made their stores available as collection sites. “We put out the call for people to help us fight opioid abuse locally, and the response was incredible,” said Manar. “I think people are grateful when an opportunity like drug takeback day comes along each year because it’s a useful reminder and a simple way to help the community and the environment.”

Twelve independent pharmacy locations in towns throughout the two counties served as collection sites for unwanted human and pet medications. Michelle’s Pharmacy in Bunker Hill, Carlinville and Gillespie reported 150 pounds of medications returned at its three locations, including 84 bottles of controlled substances and more than $8,400 in mail-order pharmaceutical waste; Sullivan’s Drugstore locations in Hillsboro, Litchfield and Raymond nearly filled a 30-gallon garbage can with pills after they were removed from the bottles; Sav-Mor Pharmacy sites in Nokomis and Virden each collected more than 50 pounds of unwanted pharmaceuticals; and drop-offs were swift at Sullivan’s Drugstore in Staunton but less so than during last year’s event, which was interpreted as a positive sign that people have been disposing of their medications.

“The success of this event is a testament to the power of government, businesses, citizens and nonprofit groups coming together to achieve a common community objective,” said Manar. “By working together, we can help break the cycle of opioid addiction.”

Sponsors for this year’s event included Macoupin County Sheriff Shawn Kahl, Macoupin County State’s Attorney Jennifer Watson, Macoupin County Public Health Department, Macoupin County Anti-Meth Coalition, Montgomery County Sheriff Jim Vazzi, Montgomery County State’s Attorney Bryant Hitchings and the Reality Coalition.

Plans are underway for next year’s takeback event. In the meantime, many pharmacies and law enforcement offices offer permanent collection sites year-round, including the police departments in Litchfield, Hillsboro, Gillespie, Carlinville and Mt. Olive, as well as the Macoupin and Montgomery county sheriff’s departments. Customers can also check with local pharmacies for collection policies.

Pictured, from left, are State Sen. Andy Manar with Clayton Kessler of New Douglas, Jacob Troeckler of Bethalto and Alex Hagans of Worden, all Southern Illinois University Edwardsville pharmacy students employed by Sullivan’s Drugstore in Staunton.