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Prescription Drug Take Back Program

Home > Departments > Department of Reentry and Diversion >
Jail Diversion and Crime Prevention Division
> Prescription Drug Take Back Program

The Cook County Sheriff continues his efforts to promote public safety and protect our drinking water by through his Prescription Drug Take Back Program.  Sheriff Dart initiated this effort in 2011 and directed his staff to establish permanent collection sites at each of the Cook County suburban court houses as well as the Criminal Court Building in Chicago.  The Sheriff also works with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency in this effort by supporting the DEA’s annual collection drive. This year twenty pounds of household drugs were turned over by Sheriff’s deputies to the DEA.

As part of his outreach program, Sheriff Dart’s staff has met with senior citizens who participate in his Senior Citizen to educate them about the need to properly dispose of household prescription drugs.  Prescription drugs dumped in the garbage or down drains can pollute our drinking water with toxic chemicals that can harm the unsuspecting public.  Communities across Cook County and the entire county are recognizing what a serious problem this is and are seeking ways to protect residents and the environment. 

In response, Sheriff Dart directed his staff to place a permanent collection box at each suburban courthouse and the Criminal Court Building in Chicago to make disposal easy and convenient for Cook County residents.  Residents can drop off unused prescription drugs Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at any of the courthouses.  The boxes are placed under the watchful eye of Sheriff’s deputies to ensure that no inappropriate items are placed in the boxes.  The program does not accept liquid forms of medication such as cough syrups.

At present, the unadvertised program is currently destroying approximately ten pounds per week including: prescription pill bottle of expired and unused  and expired over-the-counter medication (Aleve, aspirin, vitamins, diet pills, cold tablets) and unused pre-measured drugs such as insulin, as well as unused sharps or needles).  The locked collection boxes are emptied on a scheduled basis by a Sheriff’s deputy; it is weighed and logged, and then turned over to the Sheriff’s Police Department for destruction.

Sheriff Dart’s Prescription Drug Take Back Program is a hybrid of his law enforcement and recycling program efforts.  In the past month, the Sheriff’s Recycling Program in partnership with various county agencies, including the Clerk of the Circuit Court, the County Clerk and the Circuit Court of Cook County has processed more than 253,000 pounds of recyclable paper and metal to save the County the waste hauling and space rental costs as well as earn recycling revenue.  According to the Sheriff, these efforts are intended to protect precious resources, our environment and our residents, as well as save taxpayer monies.

Sheriff Dart is reminding County residents that they are a crucial part of his efforts to keep our community safe and protect our drinking water.  For more information call the Sheriff’s Prescription Drug Take Back Program at 773.843.5335 or email Sheriff.Recycling@cookcountyil.gov.

Home > Departments > Department of Reentry and Diversion >
Jail Diversion and Crime Prevention Division
> Prescription Drug Take Back Program
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