Each year in Wisconsin more than 100,000 pounds of medication is collected at Drug Take Back Day events which are held in April and October, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS). That’s the same weight as two full-sized snowplows. What can’t be measured, however is the number of lives potentially saved because of these events.
HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital is encouraging community members to help boost that number even more during the National Drug Take Back event on Saturday, October 28.
The hospital is partnering with the Chippewa Falls Police Department to provide a safe, convenient and responsible disposal opportunity.
When: Saturday, October 28
10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital main entrance (drive-thru drop off)
2116 County Highway I, Chippewa Falls
Wisconsin DHS statistics from 2021, the last year data was published, show more than 1,400 deaths in the state attributed to opioids, which include some prescription medications. Nationally, the number is approximately 106,000 drug-involved overdose deaths.
HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital Community Outreach Specialist, Melissa Ives advises people not to hold onto unneeded and expired medications.
“This can create a number of potential public health hazards,” says Ives. “These items can be stolen, misused or ingested by children or pets resulting in accidental poisonings.”
Ives says do not dispose of medicines down the drain or toilet or throw them in the garbage. Over time trace amounts of medications can leach into the ground and contaminate rivers, lakes and wells. This negatively impacts fish and other aquatic species.
Community members are encouraged to bring unwanted or expired medications to the take back event. Ives says it’s best to place solid, non-liquid medication(s) in a sealed plastic bag rather than dropping off plastic pill containers with personal information on them.
The following items will be accepted:
- Prescription and over-the-counter medications
- Creams, liquids and non-aerosol sprays in the original packaging
- Pet medications
- Vaping devices and cartridges – batteries will not be accepted
Do not bring:
- Illegal drugs
- Aerosol cans
- Mercury thermometers
- Personal care products (shampoo, soaps, lotions, sunscreens, etc.)
- Household hazardous items (paint, oil, pesticide)
- Bio-hazard materials (anything containing a bodily fluid or blood)
Community members are asked to follow safety protocols during the drive-thru event:
- Remain in your vehicle. A volunteer will come to collect your items.
- Remove labels or black out identifying information on medication containers.