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You Can Save a Life When You Get Rid of Your Meds

On Saturday, the Wisconsin Department of Justice is organizing a statewide Drug Take-Back Day for expired, unwanted, and unused medication.

That said, if you can't make it on Saturday, don’t worry! The Milwaukee County Substance Abuse Prevention (MCSAP) coalition encourages everyone—including you—to use the safe, secure, permanent drug take-back options available throughout our community.

"When you have unwanted pills in your medicine cabinet, purse, or home, you could be exposing your friends or loved ones to harm," said Kasaundra Brown, MCSAP’s coordinator. "Many young people say they have easy access to medication at home, which could lead them to becoming addicted to substances that aren’t meant for them."

Brown also dispelled the myth that it’s OK to give your extra medication to a friend or relative.

“If you think you can share pills with a friend, think again,” Brown said. “Your pill could make them sick or mix with other substances already in their system and accidentally poison them or cause them to overdose.”

The best solution is to get rid of unused or extra medication as soon as you don’t need it. And, it’s easy!

Both MCSAP and its member organization Take Back My Meds MKE have been working to establish more permanent drug disposal points throughout Milwaukee County.

"Unused medicine is commonly used to start or feed an addiction and people often acquire it from family and friends. Take Back My Meds MKE is making it easier than ever to get rid of unused medicine by making drop boxes and take back envelopes more available," said Jon Richards, Coalition Director for Take Back My Meds MKE.

It’s easy to get rid of your unwanted medications and save a life today:

+ Use a permanent, secure drug-drop box: Drug drop boxes are located in every police station throughout Milwaukee County, on the UW-Milwaukee and Marquette University campuses, and in many local pharmacies and clinics. The list of sites keeps growing. With funding from the Fund for Lake Michigan, Take Back My Meds MKE recently placed a permanent drop box in Sixteenth Street Community Health Center’s Parkway Clinic and Aurora Pharmacy located at 2906 S. 20th St. You can find a map of all drop box locations here.

+ Mail them back: Secure mail-back envelopes can be obtained at 49 sites Milwaukee County, including many pharmacies and all City of Milwaukee fire stations. Simply place the medications in the envelope, seal it, and drop it in the mail. Then cover up your name and any identifying information on the pill bottle, and dispose of it in the garbage.

+ Deactivate your drugs: Many MCSAP coalition members distribute drug deactivation bags during their community outreach events, and they’re also available for purchase online. They’re an easy way to destroy your drugs in your home.