October 22, 2014

State helping dispose of old drugs

Residents across the state are being reminded to safely dispose of old and unwanted medications.

The Department of Natural Resources is helping with a push for unused or expired medications to be turned in at special collection sites. Medical waste coordinator Barb Bickford says they can contaminate water supplies if people just flush them down the toilet or throw them in the garbage.

Accidental poisonings are a risk when the drugs are kept at home and there’s also the potential for individuals to abuse those medications. Bickford says prescription pain killers are a growing gateway drug for addicts, with users often graduating to heroin.

The Department of Justice and Federal Drug Enforcement Agency are hosting take-back events this coming Saturday at more than 130 locations across the state. There are also permanent collection sites located in 52 Wisconsin counties. All drugs are taken out of state and are incinerated.

Bickford says it can be surprising how many old medications you may have around the house. A similar campaign this past April collected almost 19 tons of old medications.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:14)