UNDATED (WSAU) -- It’s time to do some spring cleaning in your medicine cabinet. The National Drug Take Back day is Saturday, and it’s the time to get old prescriptions disposed of safely and for free. The Wisconsin Department of Justice works with local health and law enforcement officials to collect and safely dispose of the unwanted medications.
Melissa Dotter is with Marathon County’s Drug Free Communities Program. She says one of the best ways to keep these drugs out of the wrong hands is to safely get rid of them Saturday. “If anybody has any prescription pain relievers, muscle relaxants, any depression or anxiety meds, anything that really alters your mood that people commonly abuse that you’re not taking, we’re just encouraging people to just get them out of their homes, and out of the hands of someone that may be abusing them or could accidentally take them.”
Dotter says you can dispose of old pills by dumping them into a zip-seal bag, which allows you to recycle plastic the pill bottles. She says you can also dispose of push-pack pills and liquids. “Anything that you would have in blister packs, that would be push packs, you can leave them in those packs. That’s fine. You don’t have to push those out. Also, any creams or liquids, so if you have any of that codeine cough syrup you’re keeping just in case, or any pain relieving cream or ointments that are out there, we’d just like to have those in their original containers but also in a bag in case they leak.”
Marathon County has four police departments that collect the old medications, and two of them are always open. “Kronenwetter and Rothschild are always our 24-7 sites, those are always extremely busy, but Wausau Police Department and Colby-Abbotsford Police Department are both opening their doors on Saturday the 26th from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. to be able to take in additional medications as part of this event.”
From May to October of last year, Marathon County collected over a ton of old medications and over five tons since they began collections in 2010.
Don’t flush old drugs down the toilet. Wastewater treatment plants are not built to handle complex chemical compounds in the pills, which puts the drugs into lakes, rivers, and groundwater.
National Drug Take Back has collection points in every county of every state Saturday. There are several sites in Wisconsin.
More information about Drug Take Back programs, and programs to help stop drug abuse are available through the Wisconsin Department of Justice website and at many county health departments.