By Patrick Lynn
Wisconsin ranks second in the nation for over-the-counter and prescription drug collection, according to a report released Tuesday by State Attorney General Josh Kaul.
The 18th annual statewide Drug Take-Back Day was held on Oct. 26, though local law enforcement officials held several events encouraging residents to drop off old prescription and OTC medicines before they can be abused or improperly discarded in the water supply.
On Oct. 28, Portage Co. shipped out 1,500 pounds of drugs collected from throughout the county. An email from Kaul’s office said Wisconsin collected 60,472 pounds of drugs, beating the State of California and second only to Texas, which collected a little over 72,000 pounds.
Kaul called the event “successful,” adding it, “reflects the commitment of people across the state to fighting substance abuse.”
“Thanks to the many Wisconsinites who are helping to prevent unused and unwanted medications from being diverted,” he said.
Statewide, 280 law enforcement agencies hosted Drug Take-Back events and collected disposed drugs from 476 permanent drug disposal boxes at law enforcement agencies across the state. Permanent disposal bins are located at the Portage Co. Sheriff’s Office, and police departments in Stevens Point and Plover.
“Drug Take-Back Day provides a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposal, while also educating the community about the potential abuse and consequences of improper storage and disposal of these medications,” Kaul said.
Unused or expired medicine should never be flushed or poured down the drain. Water reclamation facilities are not designed to remove all of them, and trace amounts of pharmaceuticals are showing up in rivers and lakes, his email read.
The biannual event is a cooperative effort with the Drug Enforcement Administration, and state and local law enforcement agencies.
Collected medications were boxed and driven to a facility in Indiana, according to Sheriff Mike Lukas, where the drugs were incinerated.