Walgreens stores and several other businesses and organizations are partnering with the Drug Enforcement Administration for a nationwide medicine collection event this month.

The DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day will take place on Saturday, April 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Residents of all states will have the opportunity to safely dispose of unwanted medications at several locations.

In Central Illinois, local police departments will anonymously collect both prescription and over-the-counter medications (including pet medications) at participating Walgreens stores in Champaign, Urbana, Mahomet, Rantoul, Danville, Monticello, Effingham, Taylorville, Pana, Mattoon, Charleston, Bourbonnais, and Kankakee. You can view the DEA’s directory of locations to find specific event details for your area.

The event comes in the wake of a growing number of studies showing that pharmaceutical chemicals commonly found in rivers, groundwater, and drinking water are harmful to fish and other wildlife. Exposure to these chemicals has been linked to changes in behavior and impaired development in many aquatic species.   

“Awareness of the risks is growing, but finding a collection isn’t always easy,” said Laura Kammin, pollution prevention program specialist at Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant. “The DEA Take-Back event makes it simple to get rid of medications you no longer need.”

This is the sixth DEA-led pharmaceutical collection day held since 2010. In that time, more than 2 million pounds of medication have been collected by law enforcement agencies and community partners nationwide. 

To learn more about the effects of improper pharmaceutical disposal, and for information on how to store and dispose of medication safely when take-back programs are not available, visit unwantedmeds.org.