Walgreens is installing new, medication disposal kiosks at pharmacies across the country, including 18 in Wisconsin.
On Thursday, Gov. Scott Walker, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, and Attorney General Brad Schimel were among those who visited the Walgreens store at 35th St. and Wisconsin Ave. for the launch of that store's kiosk.
Walker said the kiosks will make it more convenient for people to turn in old or unused prescription drugs. He noted that not everyone makes regular stops at their local police station, which is another option for disposing of unused pills.
“When you come here, there’s no questions, no hassle," Walker said. "It’s easy."
He also said that combating opioid abuse is something that typically draws bipartisan support.
“This is one of those unique issues that brings people together, regardless of politics or where they live,” Walker said.
Schimel said that roughly 80 percent of people who use heroin started as prescription drug abusers, and that approximately 70 percent of them obtained the drugs through friends or family.
Schimel said the drop off kiosks will help to ensure fewer old or unused prescriptions are left sitting in drawers or medicine cabinets where they can be stolen.
“I’ve asked people many times, would you leave a loaded handgun on the counter of your home with young children coming in and out?” Schimel said. “No one would.”
Barrett said the kiosks will help to keep the prescriptions from ending up in the local water supply.
“It is not safe to put them down the drain, or down the toilet, because our MMSD water system is not equipped to deal with those issues,” Barrett said.
Also Thursday, Walker signed an executive order establishing the Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse.
“We’ll start this up right away,” Walker said of the task force, which will meet in the coming weeks and months to further the work being done to combat opioid abuse, as well as to make additional recommendations to end the opioid crisis in Wisconsin.