Ask MRN: Questions about vulgar signs and locations of drug take back boxes in Quincy

Drug Take Back Day

I see signs around town that say things like “F**K Joe Biden.” I don’t want my grandchild to see bumper stickers like that around town. Can the Quincy Police Department do anything to make people take down signs with vulgarity? 

Adam Yates, chief of the Quincy Police Department, says he has discussed this topic with the city’s legal departments. The answer he’s received is that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution covers this by protecting freedom of speech.

“Therefore, there is nothing legally the police department can do about an offensive sign displayed on private property,” Yates said. “You can’t put a sign like that on a city right-of-way without permission, or we would take it down. Now, in certain circumstances, (removing a vulgar sign) would be a case-by-case basis if something is threatening, but profanity specifically is protected by the First Amendment.

“If you drive by somebody’s house (with a vulgar sign on the property) with your grandkid in the car, you probably should go a different direction.”

I missed the Adams County Health Department’s drive-up event to dispose of outdated or unneeded medications.  Is there a place to dispose of medications at any time?

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s most recent National Prescription Drug Take Back Day was on April 22. The next one is scheduled for October.

Jarrod Welch, public health administrator for the Adams County Health Department, said the health department used to have a box of its own for these medications but removed it because of other options available in Quincy.

Ellen Vonderheide, director of public health programs, said that as of February 2023, drug take back boxes are available at: 

  • Quincy Police Department, 730 Maine, 217-228-4500
  • Walmart, 5211 Broadway, 217-228-2331
  • Hy-Vee, 3700 Broadway, 217-224-7555
  • CVS, 436 N. 30th, 217-224-2828
  • Hy-Vee, 1400 Harrison, 217-222-2930

Vonderheide said the health department surveys pharmacies once a year to check if they still offer drug take back boxes.

Accepted items are prescription medications, over-the-counter medications and liquid medications in their original bottle with a lid. Needles, illegal drugs, aerosol cans, medical devices, batteries, hydrogen peroxide, thermometers or non-pharmaceutical waste are not accepted.

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed the Drug Take-Back Act into law on June 10, 2022. Beginning Dec. 1, 2023, every Illinois county will be entitled to at least one medication collection location per 50,000 residents that is financed by pharmaceutical manufacturers. These collection locations will accept both controlled and non-controlled substances free of charge. 

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