Dispose of medications during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, April 22

pile of empty pill bottles

Help minimize unintentional drug poisoning

Safe Communities Madison-Dane County and the African American Opioid Coalition (AAOC) will host three drug take-back locations in conjunction with National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, Saturday, April 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Warner Park, Elver Park and Mt. Zion Baptist Church.

“Research shows that close to 50% of people who misuse prescription drugs for the first time get these medicines from people they know, with or without asking,” said Cheryl Wittke, Safe Communities executive director. “We’re grateful to partner with the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Madison Police and the Dane County Sheriff to offer safe disposal opportunities.”

“Unintentional deaths through drug poisoning exceed deaths from motor vehicle crashes in Dane County,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “I encourage county residents to safely dispose of unwanted or unneeded prescription medications to prevent misuse and accidental poisonings. This is one step we can take to make our community safer.”

The AAOC is focused on addressing the alarming increase in overdose deaths among Black people, which is more than three times the rate among white people according to a 2020 annual report on overdose deaths in Dane County put out by Public Health Madison and Dane County.

This year’s take-back day coincides with Earth Day, providing another reason to clear out forgotten medications. People are discouraged from disposing of medications by flushing or pouring them down the drain to protect our water supplies from contamination.

The following is a list of what items can and cannot be accepted.

Bring: Prescription (controlled and non-controlled) and over-the-counter medications, ointments, patches, non-aerosol sprays, inhalers, creams, vials and pet medications. Leave medications in original pharmacy containers and remove the label or cross off personal information or remove medications from pharmacy containers and place in a resealable bag.

Do Not Bring: Illegal drugs, needles/sharps, aerosol cans, bio-hazardous materials (anything containing a bodily fluid or blood), mercury thermometers, personal care products (shampoo, soaps, lotions, sunscreens, etc.), household hazardous waste (paint, pesticides, oil, gas).

Last fall, Dane County collected almost 400 pounds of medications.

There will be free medication lock boxes and at-home disposal kits available. The AAOC will also be hosting additional take back days on select Sundays in May and June in partnership with various churches. Visit Safercommunity.net for more information and additional collection locations that are available all year.