Chicagoans help battle opioid crisis at National Take Back Day

CHICAGO — The Drug Enforcement Administration staged a nationwide effort Saturday to allow people to anonymously turn in expired, unused or unwanted drugs.

Officials said the program was one small step toward curbing opioid abuse.

Chicagoans were able to drop off their prescription drugs at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Drugs that are simply thrown away, organizers said, run the risk of being pilfered and abused.

According to the DEA, Chicago has the highest rate of emergency room visits for drug overdoses in the U.S. In Cook County, overdose deaths rose by 69 percent in 2017.

"There are over 100 deaths a day due to drug overdose," said Dr. Jonah Stulberg, associate professor of surgery at Northwestern Memorial. "Those are startling and horrible statistics."

For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs, go to