Sharalee Simkins, a records specialist for the Plover Police Department, stands by the department's drug take-back bin, which is available year round. (Metro Wire photo)

Report: Wisconsin leads nation in spring drug take-back

By Brandi Makuski

Wisconsin ranks number one in the spring 2024 drug take-back event.

The Badger State collected 55,122 pounds of unwanted or leftover medications during the annual Drug Take-Back events held across the state in October, according to a report from Attorney General Josh Kaul’s office.

Sheriff Mike Lukas said in Portage Co., law enforcement took in 1,300 pounds of leftover and expired over-the-counter and prescription medications during a series of take-back events in April.

“Because of Wisconsinites who safely disposed of their unwanted medications, Wisconsin’s remarkable success with the Drug Take Back program has continued,” Kaul said in an email statement. “Thanks to everyone who helped make the safe disposal of more than 55,000 more pounds of unused medication possible.”

Since the program began in 2001, Wisconsin has collected 1,257,161 pounds of unused or unwanted over-the-counter and prescription medicine.

Wisconsin ranks third in the nation for the most medications collected since inception, falling only behind Texas with 1,424,295 pounds and California with 1,404,998 pounds collected. Nationwide, since inception, 18,570,487 lbs. of unwanted medications have been collected during Drug Take Back events.

The Drug Take-Back events are held each April and October to prevent unused and unwanted medications from being misused or improperly disposed of in the water supply.

The collected medications were boxed, palletized, shrink-wrapped, and secured for transportation to Covanta Energy Corporation in Indianapolis, where the drugs were incinerated, Lukas said.

A list of permanent drug disposal boxes can be found here: https://doseofrealitywi.gov/drug-takeback/find-a-take-back-location/