'Raising awareness:' Prescription take back event encourages people to dispose of drugs responsibly

MILWAUKEE -- Addictive and lethal, opiods have ruined countless families nationwide. The powerful drugs have even taken the lives of users and children who accidentally got their hands on them. One group is offering a "Dose of Reality" in an effort to end it all.

A warm welcome for those who braved a cold day to help save lives in their own way, students at the Medical College of Wisconsin Pharmacy School reversed roles on Saturday.

Prescription drug take back event at Miller Park

Holly Schaack

"Usually, we are giving the drugs out," said Holly Schaack, a third-year pharmacy student at Medical College of Wisconsin. "Now, we are taking them back. In both ways, we try to do what is as safe as possible for our community."

The students were doing their part in helping fight the opiod epidemic as folks rolled through the lot at Miller Park, disposing of unwanted medications.

"Today is the day about raising awareness about the importance of doing that," said Attorney General Josh Kaul.

Kaul also hit the road to support the event, saying this simple step can aid in a complex problem.

Prescription drug take back event at Miller Park

Attorney General Josh Kaul

"This requires a multifaceted, broad-based effort," said Kaul.

This public safety and public health issue is affecting thousands of Wisconsinites.

"It has such a devastating impact on families of loved ones who get trapped in the cycle of addiction," said Asst. Chief Steve Caballero of the Milwaukee Police Department. He's grateful the public is stepping up.

"Wisconsin, across the state, is one of the top states when you factor in drug take back," said Caballero.

Prescription drug take back event at Miller Park

Asst. Chief Steve Caballero

Last fall, 68,000 pounds of drugs were collected -- setting a record since the events started in May of 2015. So far, nearly 470,000 pounds have been collected overall.

"The medications collected will be incinerated -- so they can't be used improperly," said Kaul.

They won't get into the wrong hands -- even accidentally.

"The good news here is, I think we have seen a reduction in the prescription of opioids in Wisconsin," said Kaul. "We need to keep making progress in that direction."

If you weren't able to make it to the drop-off event, don't worry -- the efforts are continuous. A list of the drugs you can dispose of -- with instructions on how and where to dispose of them -- can be viewed HERE.