By CBS Chicago
CHICAGO (CBS) — Walgreens has added in-store kiosks where customers can dispose of unused medicine at dozens of its pharmacies in Illinois.
There are now 45 sites across Illinois where people can discard of unwanted, unused, or expired prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and other controlled substances.
The kiosks look almost like stainless steel mailboxes that are bolted to the ground.
“Unfortunately, 1,600 people here in Illinois died because of drug abuse in this state alone [in 2014]. And across all of America, 47,000 people have died because of drug overdoses. It’s a real issue that we want to play our part in controlling and hoping to solve,” said Alex Gourlay, co-chief operating officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin said proper disposal of old medication is one way of fighting prescription drug abuse.
“You visit the Walgreens pharmacy that participates in this program, and you end up putting these pills back into the container,” he said.
More than 500 Walgreens stores nationwide now have the safe medication disposal kiosks.
Once full, the kiosks are emptied by Lake Forest-based Stericycle, and the contents are taken to an incinerator in Ohio for disposal.
Walgreens guaranteed patient privacy is protected throughout the process.