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Rockford Police Offer Safe Disposal Of Prescription Drugs

Susan Stephens
Generic substitute for the opioid Norco

Check your medicine cabinet. Still have painkillers left from dental surgery years ago? Leftover prescription drugs can end up in the wrong hands or contaminating the environment, but there are ways to get rid of your unneeded pills safely.

The Rockford Police Department now has prescription-drug drop-off boxes in all three of its district stations.

CVS Pharmacy donated the lockable boxes to the Rockford Police Department. Think postal box, but much more secure. Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea says people can dump unwanted pills out of their original containers into a clear, self-sealing plastic bag, like a Zip-Loc, and stop by a district station between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

“They’ll come out to meet them and unlock the box to drop them, and good to go!” O’Shea said. “No one has to worry about them being abused or used by anybody they weren’t prescribed for.”

People can drop off as much as a one-gallon bag of pills once a week. That includes prescriptions, vitamins -- even pet medications. They’ll be properly destroyed by police department employees. O’Shea says the service isn’t just for Rockford residents, because prescription drug abuse is a problem everywhere. But the drop-off box is not for businesses, such as doctors’ offices and nursing homes.

The program will not accept other medical waste, such as syringes, inhalers, epi-pens, liquid medications, and ointments.

O’Shea says the drop-off also prevents water contamination by helping people avoid flushing their leftover pills. The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department and some pharmacies, such as CVS and Walgreen’s, offer similar drop-off services. Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful also conducts occasional medication collection programs.

CVS has donated more than 800 medication collection boxes to police stations in 43 states. The company plans to expand the program by donating 750 more nationally.

Rockford Police District Station Sites

District 1: 1045 W. State Street 

District 2: 1410 Broadway

District 3: 557 S. New Towne Drive

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