17 TONS of unwanted, expired or unused prescription drugs dropped off on "Take-Back Day"

MADISON (WITI) -- Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp are praising Wisconsin residents for their participation in September’s "National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day," which resulted in 17 tons (34,026 lbs) of unwanted, expired or unused prescription drugs being dropped off at more than 175 collection sites statewide, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which coordinates the biannual “Take-Back” events nationwide.  Nationwide totals haven’t yet been released by the DEA.

“Estimates suggest 70 percent of people who misuse prescription drugs get them from family and friends.  We also know addiction to prescription drugs can lead to heroin use, which is impacting Wisconsin significantly.  New regulations announced recently by the DEA will allow more locations, such as pharmacies, to serve as collection sites, and I am hopeful that by permitting more locations -- and more convenient options -- for residents to properly and regularly dispose of their unwanted meds, we’ll see less diversion, misuse and abuse, and in turn, fewer lives lost.  I encourage everyone to help law enforcement by getting rid of your unused medications and educating your loved ones about the risk," Van Hollen said.

“I want to thank everyone who participated in this very important effort. Dropping off unused drugs for proper disposal, rather than discarding them in landfills or dumping them down drains, is a great step toward protecting our natural resources, especially our drinking water and groundwater," Cathy Stepp, Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources said.

In addition to the many local law enforcement agencies that participate as drop-off sites for residents, the Wisconsin State Patrol, Wisconsin National Guard and special agents with the Department of Justice – Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) assist with “Take-Back” efforts.

October is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month -- following "Recovery Month" in September.

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