Residents can drop off unused and unwanted prescription drugs at a number of locations around the community this weekend.
The Drug Enforcement Administration is holding its seventh annual event to collect leftover medicines.
The goal is to prevent prescription drugs from being thrown into the trash or flushed down the toilet, causing harm to the environment. In addition, the effort attempts to prevent poisoning, if drugs fall into the wrong hands.
Dana Brueck of the Wisconsin Department of Justice says the event also helps get opiate-based prescription painkillers off the street. She says people who use them can get hooked, then switch to heroin, because it’s cheaper.
“We want parents and families to know that oftentimes heroin abuse begins with prescription drugs. So be aware of what you have in your medicine cabinets, dispose of them properly, make sure that those who shouldn’t have access to them don’t,” Brueck says.
The state justice department recently launched an anti-heroin campaign, and one of its warnings is to keep painkillers, such as Vicodin and Percocet, out of children’s hands.
Heroin use has been rising dramatically in Wisconsin. Last year, overdoses killed nearly 200 people.
Some communities do not have collection sites on Saturday. The MMSD, which seeks to keep medications out of the water supply, has a list of police stations that collect year-round on the agency's website.