WAUSAU – In April 2021, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration removed 839,543 pounds of unneeded medication from 5,000 collection sites across the nation. Since the beginning of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day in 2010, the DEA has removed 15 million pounds of unused prescription medications.
National Prescription Drug Take Back Day (April 30) aims to provide a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the public about the potential for the abuse of medications.
“Safe disposal of unused or expired medication is imperative to keep our communities safe, as well as to do our part to fight the opioid epidemic. The medication drop box will allow the public to properly dispose of medications, thus reducing access to medications that could be abused,” said Tara Draeger, Aspirus System Director of Community Health Improvement. “One way to do that is to get unneeded medications out of homes and into one of the county’s medication drop boxes.”
Why use a medication drop-box?
Protect the environment: Studies have found traces of pharmaceuticals in wastewater throughout the United States. Even after wastewater is treated and discharged, these pharmaceuticals persist in the environment. Preventing them from entering these ecosystems will maintain the integrity, diversity and value of our natural resources.
Increase public safety: According to the National Survey on Drug Abuse & Health, 70 percent of those 12 years and older who abuse painkillers obtained them through a friend or relative, both legally and illegally.
Improve public health: Throwing unused or unwanted medications in the trash, or leaving them out, can lead to dangerous unintended exposure to people or animals. Treat and store both prescription and over-the-counter drugs like any other poison.
Communities are encouraged to come together to help rid homes of medications that are old, unwanted or no longer needed. Drugs can be disposed anytime throughout the year. Aspirus provides convenient public medication drop off boxes at most Aspirus locations. Wisconsin Department of Health alerts community members on what items can be placed in the medical drop-box and where to bring those items.
What to bring?
Bring: Prescription (controlled and non-controlled) and over-the-counter medications, ointments, patches, non-aerosol sprays, inhalers, creams, vials and pet medications.
Do not bring: Illegal drugs, needles/sharps, aerosol cans, bio-hazardous materials (anything containing a bodily fluid or blood), mercury thermometers, personal care products (shampoo, soaps, lotions, sunscreens, etc.), household hazardous waster (paint, pesticides, oil, gas).
To find a medication drop off location near you visit Controlled Substance Public Disposal Locations – Search Utility (usdoj.gov)