Aldermen request kiosk for disposal of old medications

  • Written by Joe Boyle

Two Hickory Hills aldermen have sent a letter to the Walgreens drug store chain asking them to consider locating a kiosk for dropping off out-of-date medicines at the local store at 95th and Roberts Road.

Aldermen Tom McAvoy and Brian Fonte (3rd Ward) sent the letter out and made the formal request during the Aug. 11 city council meeting. McAvoy said it would be more convenient to have the company’s new Safe Medications Disposal Program site at the local Walgreen’s.

As of Friday, McAvoy was still waiting for an answer.

“We haven’t heard anything, but Walgreens is big,” McAvoy said. “These things sometimes move slowly.”

McAvoy and Fonte sent the letter to Walgreens’ management and made the formal request at last month’s city council meeting. A 3rd Ward resident and students from Stagg High School appeared before the council on May 26 and asked the board for assistance in getting a location where dated medicines can be disposed of.

Stagg students said they were concerned about the proper disposal of old prescription drugs. They were especially concerned about the elderly who would have to go long distances to find a place to drop off the dated medicines.

In a letter to Alex Gourlay, co-chief operating officer for Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc., McAvoy and Fonte informed him that the closest Walgreens store participating in this program to Hickory Hills is located at 14860 S. LaGrange Road, Orland Park. The two aldermen said that store is in the heart of the Orland Park regional shopping district. While this may be beneficial for Orland Park and Tinley Park residents, this is quite a distance from Hickory Hills. This is especially difficult for seniors, the aldermen wrote.

The 24-hour Walgreens at 7945 W. 95th St. in Hickory Hills is centrally located, the aldermen stated in the letter, and is only one mile from the Interstate 294 interchange at 95th Street. Debbie Trojanek, manager of the Walgreens in Hickory Hills, said that her facility could easily accommodate a kiosk at her location, according to the two aldermen.

McAvoy also serves as chairman of Business and Development for the city. Fonte is also the chairman of the Health and Environment Committee.

Walgreens began the safe medication disposal kiosk program on Aug. 8. The launch is part of Walgreens effort to install safe medication disposal kiosks at more than 500 of its drug stores around the country. Currently, there are 45 Walgreens drug stores that have the kiosks

Walgreens officials stated that the kiosks provide a safe and convenient way year-round to dispose of unwanted, unused or expired prescriptions, including controlled substances, and over-the-counter medications at no cost.

“By making safe medication disposal kiosks available in select Illinois stores and expanding to other states this year, Walgreens is taking an important first step to help reduce the misuse of medications throughout the country,” said Gourlay. “We are committed to doing our part in not only our home state, but other states as well, and being part of a comprehensive solution to reverse this epidemic.”

Walgreens did not comment on additional sites. However, McAvoy said that is his hope that a kiosk will be installed at the store in Hickory Hills in the next round of selections.

McAvoy said there is a box set up at the Hickory Hills Police Station that’s open for 24 hours. He said it is convenient but may not be as accessible as the local Walgreens store.

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District also has set up containers to dispose of dated medicines. However, McAvoy said they are not accessible.

“The closest is the Stickney plant, which is far from here,” said McAvoy. “It’s great and it’s a good program. There are not that many and they are just too far from here.”

McAvoy said he would call Walgreens officials again to see if he can get a response.

“I don’t know what the criteria is or not,” added McAvoy. “But I think there is a need for a kiosk here. “