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Rosecrance and Chicago's Department of Environment Collaborate to Help Families Dispose of Unwanted Medicines and Drugs

Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet Day Set For Saturday October 13 Proper Disposal of Drugs Critical To Combat Prescription and OTC Drug Abuse

CHICAGO, Oct. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Rosecrance Health Network, a leading provider of substance abuse treatment to adolescents, adults and their families, said today it is partnering with Chicago's Department of Environment on an area wide "Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet" initiative to encourage families to properly dispose of unwanted and unneeded prescription and over-the-counter medicines that could be misused or abused.

"Abuse and addictions to prescription drugs like OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet, Valium, or Xanax and over-the-counter drugs like cough syrup are growing at an alarming rate," said Thomas E. Wright, M.D., medical director of adolescent services at Rosecrance, which serves teenage patients from throughout Illinois. "Teens sometimes think these drugs are safe because they are prescribed by a physician. But the main reason for the abuse is that these drugs are easily accessible and free. Adolescents find these drugs in the safety of their homes, or while visiting their grandparents or friends. They are just sitting there waiting to be used," Dr. Wright said.

To assist with the proper removal of drugs from their homes, Chicago's Department of Environment is hosting a special initiative to help families dispose of unwanted and unused prescription and over-the-counter drugs. "Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet Day" is set for Saturday, October 13, when residents throughout Illinois will have the ability to dispose of those medicines that are outdated or are no longer needed by bringing them to a special drop-off center at Northeastern Illinois University at 5500 N. St. Louis in Chicago.

Between the ages of 13 and 16, the abuse of prescription drugs increases significantly, according to Rosecrance admissions data. Incidents of first use of prescription opiates (such as Demerol, codeine or Vicodin) by teenagers nearly double during this time period, sedative or tranquilizer use (including Xanax, Valium or Ambien) increases at even a faster rate and over-the-counter drug abuse show the same amount of increase. The National Monitoring the Future study from the University of Michigan reported that over 40 percent of older teens say that these types of prescription drugs are "fairly easy" or "very easy" to obtain. National trends indicate about 19 percent of teens have tried prescription medicine to get high, based on the 2005 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study which surveyed teenagers in 7th through 12th grades.

"Cutting off the supply of these drugs will play an enormous role in tackling this problem," Dr. Wright explained. "In addition parents have the responsibility to make sure their children understand that using prescription drugs intended for someone else is neither safe nor legal. These drugs -- which can be found in anyone's medicine cabinet because they are drugs which have a legitimate and appropriate use -- can also be addicting and deadly."

In addition to "Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet Day" on October 13, the City of Chicago has an ongoing drug disposal initiative at a special recycling facility. The City's website at provides details on that program.

"Families that may have leftover prescriptions and over the counter drugs should throw them out," said Larry Merritt, spokesman, Chicago Department of Environment. "We want you to be able to get rid of these drugs properly -- not flushing them down the toilet where they can contaminate the water supply or throwing them in the garbage where they might become a drug source for somebody else. Bringing these drugs to a neighborhood collection date or to the city's permanent facility is the most effective way to clean out your medicine cabinet, protect your children and also protect the environment," he added.

Dr. Wright also said that in families where prescription and over-the-counter drugs are being used properly, it is important for parents to keep them in a secure place and to make sure cough syrup levels aren't declining too rapidly, or that pill bottle aren't emptying too quickly.


Saturday, October 13th

8:00 am - 3:00 pm

Northeastern Illinois University

5500 N. St. Louis

Chicago, IL

For more information about this event or the City of Chicago's permanent Household Chemicals & Computer Recycling Facility please call 311 or visit the City's Web site at:

About Rosecrance

Rosecrance Health Network is a leading provider of inpatient and outpatient substance abuse treatment services for adolescents and adults. For more information please call 1-800-ALCOHOL or visit


Lisabeth Weiner

312.252.7360 (voice)

312.485.6211 (cell) (email) Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click appropriate link. Thomas Wright

SOURCE Rosecrance Health Network
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