PrescriptionsARLINGTON HEIGHTS – To prevent unused prescription drugs from falling into the wrong hands or polluting the environment, State Senator Ann Gillespie supported legislation that was signed into law on Friday that establishes a statewide drug take-back program.

“Proper disposal of prescription medication will curb the opioid epidemic and protect our environment,” said Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights). “The safety of our children depends on the accessibility of secure take-back sites in every community.”

The Drug Take-Back Act requires pharmaceutical companies to establish take-back programs with collection sites in each of Illinois’ 102 counties and additional collection sites for every 50,000 county residents.

According to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, unused or unwanted medications are frequently flushed down the toilet or poured into sinks, causing potentially harmful substances to end up in lakes, rivers, streams and groundwater. The University of Illinois' Prairie Research Institute study collected water samples around Illinois in 2014 and 2015 and found medications and personal care products in 89% of those samples.

The Drug Take-Back Act will further prevent these prescriptions from being abused by other household members who may be able to access them. According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, 16 million of Americans over the age of 12 abuse prescription medication and four in five pharmacy-filled prescriptions are opioids.

House Bill 1780 was signed into law on Friday and is effective immediately.