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Safe Drug Disposal: Throwing Away Prescriptions the Right Way

April 24 is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. Here are a few tips to safely dispose of unused medication ...

National
National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is on April 24, and the Eau Claire City-County Health Department is encouraging locals to safely dispose of unused meds at any conveniently located drug drop off location.

More than 70% of people who misuse prescription painkillers get them from people they know.   

Alarmed? You should be.

That’s why the Eau Claire-City County Health Department urges locals to safely dispose of their old, unused medications at any number of drug take-back locations in the Chippewa Valley.  

“Our number one goal is to prevent misuse,” said Sarah Dillivan-Pospisil, a public health specialist at the Eau Claire City-County Health Department. “Providing locations to safely dispose of medication when no longer needed or expired is vital.”  

Unused medications that are left in your cabinet have the potential to fall into the hands of those who shouldn’t be using them. This could lead to drug overdose or accidental poisoning, and proper drug disposal is one easy way to reduce misuse of prescription medication, officials say.   

A complete list of take-back locations is available on the Eau Claire City-County’s website (here) under “Prescription Drug Misuse.”  

“You just walk in, drop off your medications, and then you leave,” Dillivan-Pospisil said. “There’s no questions, it’s free and anonymous.”  

Some of the take-back locations were first installed in 2012, but Dillivan-Popisil says there’s still education that is needed on where the dropbox are located and how to use them. A series of videos launched by the Eau Claire City-County Health Department shows just how easy it can be to get rid of old meds – and how important it is to supporting a healthy, happy community. These videos are available in English, Spanish, and Hmong.  

Since their installation, the health department reported over 26,000 pounds of medications, with an average of 3,000 pounds each year. In 2019, they collected the largest amount of medication yet, with almost 6,000 pounds of medication total.   

Be careful to read what each location accepts, as some locations do not accept liquid medications – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t drop them off! Simply find a location closest to you that accepts liquid medicines.   

Disposing of medications helps with more than preventing prescription misuse; it is also environmentally friendly, as it prevents folks from tossing their medications in the garbage (which ends up in a landfill) or down the toilet (which will likely cause you some plumbing issues in the future – and probably isn’t safe).   

The annual National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is on Saturday, April 24 – a great opportunity to collect all of your unused medications and safely dispose of them. Last year, Wisconsin collected the most medication throughout the entire country, with a whopping 89,982 pounds of medications. While that might seem alarming, it means that 89,982 pounds of medication was safely disposed of and avoided misuse. This year, Drug Take-Back Day will take place from 10am-2pm at the Altoona Police Department (1904 Spooner Ave.) and Marshfield Medical Center in Eau Claire (2116 Craig Road, curbside pickup at Entrance B).  


For more information on the drug take-back locations or about National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, check out the Alliance for Substance Abuse Prevention’s website at GetInvolvedASAP.org.


This post was produced through a partnership
with The Eau Claire City-County Health Department ... Learn more.

 


This was made by

Rebecca Mennecke  author

Rebecca Mennecke joined the Volume One team as Associate Editor in 2020. Rebecca studied creative writing and journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and formerly served as editor of None of the Above, managing editor of The Spectator...