New effort will make it easy to dispose of unused meds, lessen opioid abuse epidemic

MILWAUKEE -- The City of Milwaukee announced on Thursday, December 1st a first-of-its-kind effort to reduce the chances of unused or unwanted prescription drugs from adding to the area’s deadly heroin and opioid abuse epidemic. It's a new Drug Mail Back Program in partnership with CVS Pharmacy and the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD).

The Drug Mail Back Program will utilize free, tamper-proof mail back envelopes that will be made available to residents at 10 CVS Pharmacy locations in Milwaukee and Cudahy, at MMSD’s administrative office, and in Milwaukee and Cudahy police department precincts, as part of a two-year pilot program.

Under the program, residents will use envelopes pre-addressed to their local police department (Milwaukee or Cudahy) to mail back their unwanted/unused prescription drugs, getting them out of medicine cabinets where they might otherwise be abused or misused, and also preventing improper disposal methods that might otherwise harm our waterways or landfills.

Residents will be asked to empty contents of their unwanted prescription pills into the secure envelope, seal it and place it in the mail.  The empty plastic prescription vials can then be recycled.

Returned drugs will be stored by the Milwaukee and Cudahy Police Departments, and coordinated runs will be made through the DEA’s office and Wisconsin Department of Justice to have the drugs incinerated. USPS mailing processes will enable participating communities the ability to track locations and weight content of returned drugs.

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel has voiced his strong support for the initiative. In a statement he said the following:

"DOJ, with the help of the DEA and local law enforcement partners, has destroyed more than 200,000 pounds of unused medications over the last two years. I’m pleased DOJ can provide for the disposal of these drugs and confident our new partnership with the City of Milwaukee, MMSD, and CVS will result in the prevention of additional prescription medication diversions and drug overdoses."

Kevin Shafer, executive director of MMSD issued this statement:

"Making it easier for people to properly dispose unused pharmaceuticals will help get more drugs off the street and out of the environment,. You should not flush or pour old medicine into the sewer system. Our water reclamation facilities are not designed to remove them and they can end up in Lake Michigan."

Below are the participating CVS locations:

  • CVS Pharmacy, 7550 W. Perkins Place, Milwaukee, WI  53216

  • CVS Pharmacy, 3860 S. 27th St., Milwaukee, WI 53221

  • CVS Pharmacy, 1316 W. Forest Home Ave., Milwaukee, WI  53204

  • CVS Pharmacy, 1650 Farwell Ave., Milwaukee, WI  53202

  • CVS Pharmacy, 6330 N. 76th St., Milwaukee, WI  53218

  • CVS Pharmacy, 2607 N. Downer Ave., Milwaukee, WI  53211

  • CVS Pharmacy, 5929 W. Lisbon Ave., Milwaukee, WI  53210

  • CVS Pharmacy, 5740 S. Packard Ave., Cudahy, WI  53110

  • CVS Pharmacy, 3030 W. Villard Ave., Milwaukee, WI  53209

  • CVS Pharmacy inside Target, 2950 S. Chase Ave., Milwaukee, WI  53207

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