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New Drug Disposal Program In Columbia, Illinois

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COLUMBIA, IL (KPLR)-- In Columbia, Illinois, the water company asked the police department with help saving the environment and saving young people from prescription-drug overdosing.

Illinois American Water Company said flushing old meds down the toilet is not the way to throw away old prescriptions.

'We want to make sure that the community has a proper vehicle to dispose of the drugs properly' said Illinois American`s Lori Stenzel.  'And to get them out of our water source.'

So, the police department wanted those old medications -- no questions asked.

"They don`t have to worry about being charged with a crime,' said police chief Joe Edwards.

Stenzel says experts haven't found more than trace amounts of medication in water.  The EPA hasn't set any standards, yet.  She says Columbia is going to beat the clock.

'But as soon as the federal government decides to regulate and give us a level,' Stenzel promised.  'American water will be right on board to meet and exceed those levels.'

Columbia's police chief said many narcotic prescriptions, like oxycodone, are getting into the hands of young teens.

'They see a prescription drug.  They think : 'Oh, it must be safe, because grandma had it or grandma had it,' Edwards explained.  'Before you know it, they`re taking two of them or they`re taking four of them and we`re responding to a call for an overdose.'

Instead the police want residents to make another call for help.  Help saving a kid from drugs, and help saving the environment.

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