Drug mail-in initiative eases disposal of unused meds

Posted at 5:18 PM, Dec 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-01 18:19:33-05

MILWAUKEE -- It's a free program that makes it easy to dispose of unused, unwanted or surplus medications, and it's considered the first of its kind.

"As a community, and as a nation, we're not doing enough," Alderman Michael Murphy said.

Alderman Murphy's sentiments are echoed by several city officials and private partners working to address drug addiction in Milwaukee.

"Just a few short years ago, 144 people died of opioid [and] heroin deaths," Alderman Murphy said. "This year, unfortunately, we're going to more than likely eclipse that."

Reports confirm Alderman Murphy's prognosis is true. According to an analysis conducted by the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee County is on the verge of a record-setting year of opioid overdose deaths. That's why many people agree the city's new medication mail back initiative is important.

"Opioid overdose is the leading cause of death in Milwaukee County," Jon Richards said.

Richards is the coordinator for the Take Back Your Meds Milwaukee coalition. He wants to see more people working to safely dispose of unused medications and help curb the opioid and heroin epidemic in the Milwaukee County area.

"We certainly applaud this [mail back] effort," Richards said. "This is a great step in the right direction and a necessary step, but there's much more we need to do."

Currently, postage paid drug disposal envelopes are available to the public at 10 CVS Pharmacy locations throughout Milwaukee.  Returned drugs will be stored by the Milwaukee and Cudahy police departments. Coordinated runs will be made through the DEA's office and Wisconsin Department of Justice to have the drugs incinerated.