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The Departments of Justice and Natural Resources Urge Wisconsin Residents to Drop Off Prescription Drugs for Safe Disposal


This year's national “Take Back Initiative,” in cooperation with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, is scheduled for Saturday, April 28, 2012.


MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp urge Wisconsin residents with expired or unused medications to safely dispose of them Saturday, April 28, 2012, during the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.


Special agents from the DOJ will assist DEA with collection efforts at some of the more than 150 law enforcement sites throughout the state. Last fall in Wisconsin, 9.91 tons, or 19,820 lbs, of prescription drugs were turned over to Wisconsin law enforcement and the DEA for safe disposal. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high. More Americans currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, hallucinogens, heroin, and inhalants combined, according to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.


The Take-Back service is free and anonymous, and will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 28, 2012. To find a drop-off location near you, visit the following website:


“Prescription drugs, when abused, can be as harmful as street drugs. Keeping them on hand long after they're needed can lead to theft and in some cases, overdose and death,” Attorney General Van Hollen said. “I'm thankful for the continued partnership of the DEA on this issue and urge people to take a few minutes and work with us to dispose of these drugs properly.”


DNR Secretary Cathy Steppadded, "Everyone who uses medications canhelp keepWisconsin's environment healthy.Taking unused medications to a

collection program ensures that pharmaceutical waste is managed properly through approved disposal methods instead of ending up in our waterways and harming our natural resources."


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, enough prescription painkillers were prescribed in 2010 to medicate every American adult around-the-clock for one month. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines -- flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash -- pose potential safety and health hazards.


For more information on how to reduce the impact of unused medications on the environment, visit the DNR website ( and keyword search "healthcare waste."