See inside secret warehouse where DEA collects prescription pills from across Illinois

An ABC7 Exclusive
More than 18,000 pounds of prescription medications are now in the possession of the Drug Enforcement Administration as part of the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, an effort to combat the opioid epidemic in Illinois.

Tens of thousands of unused prescription drugs were hauled in to secure warehouse from across the state Monday.

ABC7 got an inside look at what happens to your prescription medications to ensure they don't end up on the streets or anywhere else.

Inside the secure warehouse they come in by the pounds.

"We've been doing this for roughly eight years now. Each time we drop off about 4-500 pounds," said Detective Sgt. Joshua Fourdyce, Woodstock Police Department.

The prescription drugs are sealed and moved in.

"We are finding that majority of people who abuse prescription pills, it starts from family and friends and from medicine cabinets," said Sharon Santiago, DEA-Chicago Field Division.

It's all part of "Take Back Day" where residents bring their prescription drugs to drop-off spots across Illinois for DEA agents to destroy. It's an essential effort to combat the opioid crisis.

"One, it keeps it out of our water supply, and two, which i think is even more important than that, is that it keeps it off the street," Fourdyce said.

The drugs are collected at sites like police departments or hospitals. Over the weekend, Northwestern Medical Center teamed up with the DEA to hold a Take-Back Day in Streeterville. The last collection earlier this year brought in close to 30,000 pounds of drugs.

After the drugs are discreetly collected, they will be moved out to another secure location and destroyed in an incinerator. The whole process takes a matter of days.

"I think it takes everybody - mom, dad, neighbor, grandma, grandpa - a whole community to try to make a change in a day of a lot of darkness. This just shows that there is a lot of good people are trying really hard to make a difference," Santiago said.
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