Illinois has made it easier for law-enforcement officials to destroy opioids and other unused prescription medication.
Rep. Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) said prior to the Safe Pharmaceutical Disposal Act, law enforcement needed a court order to dispose of pharmaceuticals that were not part of a criminal investigation.
Wheeler was a primary sponsor of the legislation and said prescription drugs were piling up in evidence rooms in police departments because they didn’t have the jurisdiction to incinerate them.
The large amounts of stored opioid medication became a liability, according to Wheeler.
She said there might be some concern that pharmaceutical evidence could go missing or even sold on the street.
“It’s just not a good idea to have these drugs lingering for an unknown amount of time,” Wheeler said. “In one particular county, it added to an issue with one of the officers as far as drug addiction.”
Wheeler stressed that despite one case of an officer facing an issue with addiction, she presumes the best of all law enforcement.
She said this bill has received widespread support from Illinois legislators and law enforcement.
Wheeler said she was told by law enforcement officials that streamlining the process by disposing of the opioids at the same time as illegal drugs are ideal.
The law went into effect in August.