The local risk of new opioid addiction has eased a little bit, thanks to the collection boxes set up in Naperville and throughout DuPage County for safe disposal of the addictive substances and other medications.
The DuPage County Health Department’s RxBOX medication disposal initiative recently drew a record 3,400 pounds of unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medicines, the agency reported this week.
Operated at the police departments in a dozen county towns, the free drop-off program launched in 2009 is one of the options available in the area for safely discarding medications that could pose a danger if taken by people for whom they were not prescribed.
Naperville established a network of drop boxes in April that can be accessed around the clock at any of the Fire Department’s 10 stations, and an additional secure container is set up in the lobby of the Police Department’s headquarters at 1350 Aurora Ave. That box can be used between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. weekdays, when the lobby is open.
Local response to the disposal boxes has been robust. According to the Police Department, 75 pounds of pharmaceuticals that were no longer needed have been recovered since the program began. Figures for the Fire Department’s collection boxes were not readily available.
Drug abuse experts cite the recreational use of prescription painkillers among the most common factors contributing to heroin addiction. The unintentional overdose of heroin and other potentially lethal drugs has claimed at least 290 lives in DuPage and Will counties since the start of 2011, according to coroner reports.
“Statistics tell us that one of the main starting points for drug abuse is unused prescription drugs kept in a home,” Fire Chief Mark Puknaitis said in a news release. “These unused medications can also cause accidental drug overdoses in children.”
For a list of firehouse addresses, visit www.naperville.il.us/dynamic_content.aspx?id=29140. Information about DuPage County locations for the drop boxes is available at www.dupagehealth.org.Tags: addiction, drug abuse, DuPage County Health Department, health