Over 70% of people who abuse prescription pain relievers get them from people they know.
Alarm ? You should be.
This is why the Eau Claire-City County Health Department and community partner organizations are urging residents to safely dispose of their old, unused medication at a number of medication collection points in the Chippewa Valley. .
“Unused drugs that are left in your cupboard can fall into the hands of those who shouldn’t be using them,” said Sarah Dillivan-Pospisil, public health specialist. “It could lead to drug overdose or accidental poisoning, and proper disposal is an easy way to reduce prescription drug abuse.”
Here are some tips for safely preventing drug abuse:
1. SAFELY DISPOSE OF UNUSED OR EXPIRED PRESCRIPTIONS.
Proper drug disposal is one way to reduce prescription drug abuse, officials say.
Twice a year, the prescription drug take-back event is hosted by the Wisconsin Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Administration and is coordinated locally by the Eau Claire County Sheriff’s Office, Police Department of ‘Altoona, the health system of the Marshfield clinic, the town of Eau Claire. County Department of Health and Alliance for Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition.
The annual National Prescription Medication Take-Back Day takes place on Saturday, October 23 – a great opportunity to collect all your unused medications and dispose of them safely.
Last April, Wisconsin collected 59,116 pounds of drugs – the second-largest drug recovery in the country. While this may sound alarming, it does mean that 59,116 pounds of drugs have been safely disposed of and avoided abuse.
This year’s Drug Take Back Day will be 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Altoona Police Department (1904 Spooner Ave.) and Marshfield Medical Center – Eau Claire (2116 Craig Road, curbside pickup at the entry B).
If you can’t attend the pickup event on Saturday October 23, you can still get rid of your meds. And the City and County of Eau Claire Health Department makes it simple, easy and efficient to drop off unused medication to prevent abuse with medication collection points available year-round.
Drug elimination is not just about preventing prescription abuse; it’s also environmentally friendly, as it prevents people from throwing their medications in the trash (which ends up in a landfill) or down the toilet (which will likely cause you plumbing problems in the future – and don’t is probably not sure).
You just walk in, drop off your meds, and then off you go. There are no questions; it’s free and anonymous.
Eau Claire City and County Health Department
A complete list of pick-up points is available on the Ville-Comté d’Eau Claire website (here) under “Misuse of Prescription Drugs and Safe Disposal of Medications”.
“You just come in, drop off your meds, and then you go,” Dillivan-Pospisil said. “There are no questions; it’s free and anonymous.
Since their installation, the health department has reported more than 33,800 pounds of drugs, with an average of 3,000 pounds each year. In 2019, they collected the largest amount of medicine to date, with nearly 6,000 pounds of medicine in total.
Be sure to read what each location accepts, as some locations don’t accept liquid medication – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t drop them off! Just find a location closest to you that accepts liquid medication.
2. EDUCATE YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY
Some of the pick-up locations were first installed in 2012, but Dillivan-Popisil says there is still training needed on where the drop boxes are and how to use them. A video series launched by the City and County of Eau Claire Health Department shows how easy it can be to get rid of old drugs and how important it is to support a healthy and happy community. These videos are available in English, Spanish and Hmong. One way to keep your family and friends safe is to share information on how to prevent drug abuse, for example through these accessible videos, available online at GetInvolvedASAP.org under the “Prescription Drug Use and Safe Disposal” tab.
3. LOCK YOUR MEDICINES.
Use a safe, bag-lock or locked drawer and hide the key. This will prevent others from stealing or abusing prescription drugs that are not theirs. It will also prevent young children or pets from accidentally finding and swallowing medication.
For more information on drug pick-up locations or on National Prescription Drug Withdrawal Day, visit the Alliance for Substance Abuse Prevention website at GetInvolvedASAP.org.