A mail-back program can help people dispose of unwanted medications – and keep those medications out of the Great Lakes. Melissa Boehm with UW-Extension in Milwaukee says the “Get the Meds Out” project will get underway in 36 counties with waters when drain into Lakes Michigan and Superior. “We are talking about a small amount, maybe parts per trillion, maybe parts per trillion and parts per billion in the water, but they actually don’t get diluted out,” said Boehm. “These chemicals survive wastewater treatment plants and survive water treatment methods.”
Research has shown that prescription medications flushed down the toilet or the drain can end up in the state’s water supply, harming both water and soil. “Get the Meds Out” will work with senior centers, public health agencies and pharmacies. The filled envelopes will be mailed to a facility in Maine, where they are sorted and processed. Maine’s “Safe Medicine Disposal” program serves as the model for the Wisconsin project – it’s the only one in the nation with U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency approval allowing for return of controlled substances by mail.