Drug Take Back and the Yellow Jug

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Drug Take Back and the Yellow Jug

The YELLOW JUG Program at The Compounder is dead.

We are sorry to announce that our service partner for the Yellow Jug program has ceased operation and we are no longer able to process collected used drugs for destruction.

We are not able to accept any unused medication for disposal.


  • The Aurora Police Department conducted a drug take-back program recently and we hope they will do it on a regular basis in the future.
    • Aurora Police Department
    • 1200 E Indian Trail
    • (630) 256-5000
    • Open 24 hours
  • Fox Metro has had a program in place for several years. You may take your unused medicines for disposal to their lobby.
    • Fox Metro 
    • 682 State Rte 31, Oswego, IL 60543
    • (630) 301-6881
    • Hours: 8AM–4:30PM Monday through Friday

We will notify the community if we are again able to collect and destroy used medicines.

Unused Drugs Collected by Local Police. On Saturday, September 27, 2014, Aurora Police joined law enforcement agencies nationwide in partnership with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), to collect expired, unused, and unwanted prescription and non-prescription medications.

Officials say that expired, unused, and unwanted drugs in homes are a potential source of supply that fuels drug abuse and is an unacceptable risk to public health and safety. Additionally, improperly disposing of drugs adds a toxic burden to our already stressed water supply.

Since the first national drug take-back event in September 2010, law enforcement estimates that over 2100 tons of medications have been collected and safely removed from circulation.

Most Pharmacies Can’t Accept Drug Returns. It has long been a violation of Federal regulations for pharmacies to accept returns of medicines, particularly controlled drugs – opioids, sedatives, etc..

From the DEA’s perspective, distribution of controlled substances was a one-way path from manufacturer to wholesaler to pharmacy to end user. There has been absolutely no allowance made for a reversal of this flow.

Some Drugs May Be Returned. For several years a small number of communities and pharmacies, though, have sponsored programs to take back other unused medicines while being firm about NOT accepting controlled drugs. The Aurora area Fox Metro Water Reclamation District has managed such a program for several years. Unused drugs may be deposited in a locked container at Fox Metro for disposal.

Still, no controlled drugs accepted.

The Compounder Pharmacy in Aurora is one of a handful of Illinois pharmacies that have been accepting unwanted drugs – except controlled ones – in their Yellow Jug Old Drugs program. The pharmacy works with the Great Lakes Clean Water Organization, whose goal is to collect and properly dispose of unwanted/unused drugs in a safe and approved manner. Under the supervision of a pharmacist, anyone may deposit unused drugs in a special yellow jug that is at the pharmacy.

Prescription and over-the-counter drugs are accepted – pills, ointments, liquids and creams. The service is free to people who deposit their drugs.

The jugs contain a substance that renders the mixture safe and useless to anyone who might have an illegal use in mind. The jugs are regularly picked up from The Compounder and transported to a Waste-to-Energy facility for secure and assured destruction.

New DEA Rules Allow Pharmacists to Accept More Returns. On September 9, 2014, the Federal rules changed and, under certain conditions, pharmacies may begin accepting all forms of returned drugs, including controlled ones, as a licensed reverse distributor. The Compounder pharmacy has begun the process to become a certified return pharmacy for controlled substances. This certification process should be completed before the end of the year.

This shift in regulations will make it easier for pharmacies to accept returned drugs, including controlled ones. With this last legal obstacle lifted, other pharmacies should join the effort to curtail unlawful drug use and reduce the amount of drugs that end up in our water supply.

We call on the major drugstores to step up and do their part. A few local programs, an annual police take-back, and The Compounder pharmacy can’t handle the job without help.

Live Up to Your Promise About Health. One major chain of drugstores recently stopped selling tobacco products and changed their name because their purpose is “…helping people on their path to better health.” There’s no doubt that reducing the misuse of drugs and making the water cleaner will do a lot to help all of us achieve better health.

Everyone is encouraged to locate programs that will accept unused drugs instead of dumping them down the drain or throwing them in the regular trash.

Do your part.

The Compounder pharmacy is ready to help until other pharmacies are ready with their take-back programs.

2017-05-11T22:28:00+00:00 May 11th, 2017|Blog|