Media Center

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp Thank Wisconsin Residents for Dropping Off Their Prescription Drugs for Safe Disposal

More than 37,000 pounds of prescription drugs were turned over to Wisconsin law enforcement during Saturday's “Take Back Initiative” organized by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration


MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp today praised Wisconsin residents for bringing in a record amount of expired or unused medications during the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, April 28, 2012. The DEA reports that a record 37,642 pounds, or 18.7 tons, worth of prescription drugs were dropped off at collection sites throughout Wisconsin. Nationally, citizens turned in a record 552,161 pounds, or 276 tons, of unwanted or expired medications.


Special agents from the DOJ assisted DEA with collection efforts at some of the more than 150 law enforcement locations statewide. 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. Saturday's statewide collection, which ranks 3rd in the nation, surpasses the previous Wisconsin record.


“All of these medications could've ended up either in the wrong hands or in the environment,” Attorney General Van Hollen said. “I'm very encouraged by the tremendous turnout across the state, and I'm thankful to the DEA for leading this important effort.”


DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp added, “People tell us every day they want to help keep our environment clean. This is one simple thing that they can do that will significantly help our waters, fish, wildlife and ultimately, the food chain.”


If you still have expired or unused prescription drugs, check with your local law enforcement agency for proper disposal options, or visit the following link from the DNR, and search “household pharmaceuticals.”


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. 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.