September 2, 2014

Cleaning out the medicine cabinet

With the hope of addressing growing concerns about prescription drug abuse in the state, Wisconsin will take part in a national drug take-back event Saturday that will allow people to safely dispose of old medications. The event will offer drop-off sites across the state where people can turn in old drugs to be destroyed.

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen says keeping those unwanted medications around the house can be dangerous, noting that an estimated two-thirds of the prescription drugs that are abused in the U.S. each year are actually coming out of medicine cabinets. Van Hollen says family members or visitors can easily walk off with those drugs, which often serve as a gateway to abusing drugs such as heroin.

AUDIO: Attorney General Van Hollen (:12)

Because of environmental concerns, those drugs can’t just be thrown away or sent down the drain. Collection sites are needed because of federal regulations on controlled substances. Medications that are turned in are typically incinerated.

Events are scheduled to run from 10am to 2pm on Saturday, April 27. Similar take-back events held across the state last year collected over 30 tons of expired or unused medications. You can search for a drop-off location near you by going to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s website.