By Dan Campana
With a goal of reducing prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse, the Illinois State Police announced the installation of unused medication drop boxes at five district headquarters around the state.
The receptacles will be placed at districts located in Collinsville, Des Plaines, Elgin, LaSalle and Joliet in coordination with the Save a Star Foundation, which provided the collection boxes. The foundation was created by David and Gail Katz, who lost their son to a prescription drug overdose in 2007.
“Each day, about 2,500 teens use prescription drugs for non-medical use for the first time. Prescription pills are now killing more of our youth than cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine combined,” David Katz said in announcing the program. “Save a Star is pleased to partner with the Illinois State Police to help avoid tragedies.”
The boxes will accept unwanted or unused medications, pet medicine, drug samples, vitamins, liquids and creams. For safety reasons, needles, thermometers, IV bags, hydrogen peroxide and medical waste cannot be taken and should not be deposited in the boxes.
“Prescription drug abuse is a real issue and, unfortunately, it’s all too often the gateway to opioid drug addiction,” ISP Director Leo Schmitz said. “These receptacles will help keep drugs out of the wrong hands and will reduce the odds for accidental overdoses and future drug dependency.”
Officials said the initiative is part of the state’s overall effort to reduce opioid-related deaths in Illinois by 33 percent in the next three years.
The issue remains top-of-mind for law enforcement. On March 26, corrections officers and medical staff at the Lake County Jail jumped into action to save the life of a woman who suffered an opioid overdose in the jail’s intake area.
According to the sheriff’s office, the woman was being booked on various drug charges when became unresponsive and unconscious. Officers suspected an opioid overdose and medical staff used two doses of Naloxone to revive the woman who later admitted she had used heroin.