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Cicero PD launches prescription drug giveback program

The Cicero Police Department recently unveiled a new prescription drug giveback program, made possible through a grant from the Kinney Drug Foundation. Present for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new MedReturn box were, from left, Cicero Volunteers in Police Services volunteer John Krider, Cicero Town Board member Mark Venesky, Cicero Senior Advocate Diane Browning, resident Elizabeth Fedele (who christened the box with a prescription dropoff), Greg Wolanski of Kinney Drugs, Cicero Police Chief Joseph Snell and Cicero Supervisor Jessica Zambrano.

The Cicero Police Department recently unveiled a new prescription drug giveback program, made possible through a grant from the Kinney Drug Foundation. Present for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new MedReturn box were, from left, Cicero Volunteers in Police Services volunteer John Krider, Cicero Town Board member Mark Venesky, Cicero Senior Advocate Diane Browning, resident Elizabeth Fedele (who christened the box with a prescription dropoff), Greg Wolanski of Kinney Drugs, Cicero Police Chief Joseph Snell and Cicero Supervisor Jessica Zambrano. Photo by Sarah Hall.

— According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, some 1.9 million youth between the ages of 12 and 17 abuse prescription drugs, with 1.6 million abusing prescription pain medication.

“We’ve seen an increased use of these medications in our youth [over the last several years],” said Cicero Police Chief Joseph Snell. “Many people just leave them in a cabinet or a cupboard some place. Most people don’t even know what they have. Kids can just take them out of there. They are prescription drugs. Many are controlled substances, and they can be addictive.”

The Cicero Police Department has come up with a solution to limit such abuse. The department is now home to a MedReturn box in which town residents can drop off expired or unused prescription drugs any time from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The drug collection unit is produced by MedReturn, LLC of Grafton, Wis. The box is located in the police department’s administrative offices at 8236 Brewerton Road, behind Town Hall. Drugs should be placed in a clear plastic bag. The department cannot take liquids or needles. As the box fills up, the CPD will clear it out and remove the drugs to their evidence room. When the DEA does its giveback program twice a year, the department will turn them over for safe destruction.

“We want to take these medications off the market so that our youth can’t get a hold of them,” Snell said. “They’re our most vulnerable population that we have. They abuse these medications. If we get them out of the homes and get them into our care, hopefully we can reduce dependence on these medications.”

The idea came from John Krider, a member of Cicero’s Volunteers in Police Services, a program that allows trained volunteers to perform a number of police services townwide, including residential security checks for residents on vacation, business security checks after closing hours, traffic control for special events, vehicle accidents and other emergencies, crime prevention and community awareness programs, bicycle registrations, children fingerprinting, assist in neighborhood watch activities, conduct neighborhood canvas when a crime has occurred in the area, routine neighborhood patrol and other activities as assigned by the Cicero Police Department. The program has 25 volunteers.

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