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Program History

In 2012, Sheriff Dart established a permanent collection network to assist Cook County residents through the Sheriff’s Prescription Drug Take Back Program. The program collaborated with the Region V Drug Diversion Program of the United Stated Drug Enforcement Agency to establish its collection system with permanent collection boxes installed at each of the circuit court houses as well as the County Building to permit local residents to anonymously dispose of their unwanted prescription and non-prescription medicines at each location while ensuring proper control of these drugs.

The Sheriff’s Prescription Drug Take Back Program also began assisting location towns and villages as well as Chicago wards by sponsoring Pharmaceutical Take-Back events. In 2016, the Sheriff’s Prescription Drug Take Back Program entered into an agreement with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago to receive grant funding to underwrite purchase of collection boxes for designated local jurisdictions and program operational costs for collection and disposal of collected drugs.

Later in 2016, the Cook County Board of Commissioners enacted the Cook County Safe Disposal of Pharmaceuticals Ordinance (Sec. 46-102-116, enacted October 23, 2016) to permit expansion of the program.

The program has grown from its original seven permanent collection sites operated by the Sheriff’s program to more than 80 local law enforcement and local government partners.  The Sheriff’s Program has further grown with its responsibilities under the Cook County Safe Disposal of Pharmaceuticals Ordinance to serve as the monitor of another forty collection sites serving Chicago and suburban Cook County.

Collection Plan, Annual Report and Budget

Collection Plan and Annual Report

The Cook County Safe Disposal of Pharmaceuticals Ordinance, Sections 46-105-109, requires that a Collection Plan for Unwanted Covered Drugs be created with the following components:  a Producer Registry, a collection system providing ongoing collection service for all Unwanted Covered Drugs from County residents with a list of collections and drop off sites, a schedule of collection events, a description of mail-back services that will be provided along with a sample of the prepaid, pre-addressed mailers that will be used, a list of participating law enforcement and pharmacies, a description of the handling and disposal system, and a description of the policies and procedures to be followed by persons handling Unwanted Covered Drugs collected under the Collection plan, including safety and security tracking methods and compliance with applicable laws. The plan must also include steps to remove patient information on Drug packaging, public education efforts and promotion strategies as well as standardized instructions for County residents and signage.  The plan must describe how it will consider use of existing providers of waste pharmaceutical services, cost control for waste disposal and recycling of Drug packaging.  An annual report of accomplishments is to be made available to the Cook County Board of Commissioners and the public.

The Cook County Sheriff Drug Take Back Collection procedures can be found Here

Find the first Annual Report on Producer Collection Plan Activities (January 1-December 31, 2017) Here.

Find the second Annual Report on Producer Collection Plan Activities (January 1-December 31, 2018) Here.

Find the third Annual Report on Producer Collection Plan Activities (January 1-December 31, 2019) Here.

Find the fourth Annual Report on Producer Collection Plan Activities (January 1-December 31, 2020) Here.


The Cook County Safe Disposal of Pharmaceutical Ordinance, Section 46-109 authorizes an annual registration fee for producers participating in the Collection Plan recover, but not exceed, actual costs to the County of registration and implementation of the Collection Plan at a rate duly approved by the Board.  Action has not yet been proposed for the establishment of the annual registration fee.  The anticipated costs that the registration fee would cover include collection and transportation supplies for drop-off sites; acquisition of all secure collection bins for drop-off sites; maintenance or replacement of secure collection bins, as requested by Collectors; prepaid, pre-addressed mailers provided to disabled and/or home-bound County residents; operation of periodic collection events, including costs of law enforcement staff time if necessary; transportation of all collected Covered Drugs to final disposal, including costs of law enforcement escort if necessary; environmentally sound disposal of all collected Covered Drugs; creation, promotion and advertisement of the Collection Program; and creation, maintenance and operation of the single toll-free telephone number and single web site as established under the ordinance.

The ordinance further authorizes the Comptroller to create a special fund known as the “Pharmaceutical Disposal Fund” which is subject to budget and appropriation purposes related to the funding of the Collection Plan, the Department of Revenue to collect, account for and transfer any remittals pursuant to the ordinance into the Fund and then permits the Comptroller to distribute monies from the Fund after appropriation by the Cook County Board of Commissioners for the purpose of funding the Collection Plan.

In FY 2018, the Pharmaceutical Disposal Fund was established for implementation of the Cook County Safe Disposal of Pharmaceuticals Collection.


Below is useful information or web page links for further information on Prescription Drug Take Back Programs.


OTHER GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS—permitting/pharmaceuticals_dropofflocations.html




2017 – Click Here

2018 – Click Here

2019 – Click Here


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