EDITORIAL: Prescription meds require proper disposalSeems like the theft and improper use of prescription medications is on the rise in western Wisconsin. You just have to read through the weekly police reports and the sheriff’s report to recognize the trend.
Seems like the theft and improper use of prescription medications is on the rise in western Wisconsin. You just have to read through the weekly police reports and the sheriff’s report to recognize the trend.
In a recent drug arrest at the New Richmond High School, stolen prescription drugs were found in a student’s locker, along with other drugs. It’s no longer a rare occurrence to see such an arrest.
But it’s no wonder that prescription medications have become a big problem here and elsewhere.
Powerful medications that go unused by their intended user can sit for weeks and months in home cabinets and often are the target of thieves and drug addicts.
Law enforcement officials claim a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, many snatched from home medicine cabinets. Those pills are used to feed an individual’s addiction or sold to others on the street.
An alarming statistic is that 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.
And clearly there are plenty of unused prescription medications out there just waiting to be abused.
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. And a large number of those pills often go unused.
Apart from the abuse issue, prescription medications are having a negative impact on the environment as well.
Environmental agencies are advising people that their traditional methods for disposing of unused medicines (such as flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash) pose potential safety and health hazards.
Traces of such medicines are showing up in our waterways and water systems, creating a threat to people, wildlife and nature in general.
To reduce the chance for abuse, and to help protect the state’s environment, Wisconsin residents with expired or unused medications are being urged to safely dispose of them Saturday, April 28, during the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.
On that day, law enforcement sites throughout the state will be gathering up the unused medications and properly disposing of them.
Last fall in Wisconsin, during a similar collection, 9.91 tons of prescription drugs were turned over to Wisconsin law enforcement and the DEA for safe disposal.
The drop-off service is free and anonymous. The Hudson Police Department is the closest drop off for this Saturday’s collection.
The St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office, New Richmond Police Department and other local police departments collect prescription drugs during normal business hours and all year long.
We encourage everyone to do their part to reduce the illegal trafficking of prescription medications, and help the environment, by sorting through pill containers and getting rid of prescriptions that aren’t being used.