Plenty of Wisconsin residents took advantage of an opportunity last month to get rid of their old medications.
Initial figures from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration show 17 tons of prescription drugs were collected at 175 sites across Wisconsin last month, when the state took part in a national drug take-back event. The biannual events allows residents to drop off unwanted, expired, or unused prescription drugs so they can be destroyed.
Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, a long-time champion of the take-back program, says many people who use heroin often started after abusing prescription drugs they took from family and friends. He hopes the take-back events will help to reduce access to those drugs, along with an expansion of the program due to new regulations from the DEA. Those rules allow more locations to serve as collection sites, including pharmacies. Advocates believe that could make it more convenient for people to dispose of unwanted drugs quickly, without having to wait for one of the bi-annual take-back events.
The state Department of Natural Resources also notes that the collection efforts also help keep the potentially hazardous drugs from contaminating the environment by giving people an option to have the drugs destroyed, instead of just being thrown out or flushed down the drain.