The opioid epidemic continues to plague communities across Illinois. For the state’s youth, the biggest threat may be hiding in their home medicine cabinet.
In 2016, there were nearly 1,500 prescription opioid overdose deaths in Illinois—a number that quadrupled in 3 years, according to the state’s Department of Public Health. Studies suggest that more youth are experimenting, and dying, from prescription pills.
The Illinois State Police will now house receptacles for people to safely dispose of unused pills. Lieutenant Matt Boerwinkle says it’s greatly needed.
“These pills that are not destroyed, not properly disposed of are falling into the hands of our youth and they’re becoming addicted," he said. "They’re a gateway drug. They lead to other drug abuse and we’re seeing many of them turn to heroin.”
The new receptacles provided by Save A Star Drug Awareness Foundation will be located at ISP District headquarters in Des Plaines, Elgin, Joliet, Collinsville, and LaSalle.
Law enforcement officials will announce further plans for addressing the opioid epidemic Wednesday.