Cleaning out the medicine cabinet? Where to dispose properly of prescription drugs

WAUKESHA/GREENFIELD (WITI) -- Prescription drugs are meant to help in times of sickness and pain, but they can also be harmful if they get into the wrong hands -- or not disposed of properly.

Bottles, handfuls, and bags of prescription medications are dumped into a box at the Waukesha Police Department on Saturday, September 27th.

Local police agencies and the Drug Enforcement Administration gave community members a chance to help prevent things like pill abuse and theft during a national pharmaceutical take-back initiative.

"We know with prescription drug abuse, some of the reports are saying it's double that of illegal drugs, they can be harmful if they are in the wrong hands," said Lieutenant Joe Hendricks.

By turning in unwanted or unused pills they can now be disposed of safely and help not only public safety but public health by protecting the environment.

"When you look at the magnitude of prescription drugs we take in every year, if that is not taken in by us and disposed of properly and safely, it could be dumped into the sewer system, garbage, etc," said Captain of the Greenfield Police Department, Jay Johnson.

During the DEA sponsored event last year, 390 tons of pills were collected nationwide. It was people like John Friedrich who wanted to further the awareness of the issue and make sure every capsule and blister pack was disposed of properly.

"We thought it would be better for the environment because that goes through the system. You don't want it to stay in the water that everyone gets circulated to, it's not good. Making a difference is what keeps this plant going," said Friedrich.

If you missed Saturday's drop-off, you can still get rid of your unwanted and unused pills properly. Many local agencies are now installing lock drop boxes in their lobby.