Program boxes medsDisposing of expired medication is about to get a lot more convenient. The Superior Police Department, in collaboration with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department and the Superior Department of Public Works Environmental Services Division, will debut a pharmaceutical drop box program Monday.
By: Superior Telegram, Superior Telegram
Disposing of expired medication is about to get a lot more convenient. The Superior Police Department, in collaboration with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department and the Superior Department of Public Works Environmental Services Division, will debut a pharmaceutical drop box program Monday. The program was created to give residents a place to bring unused, unwanted or expired prescription and over-the-counter medications for proper disposal. The green drop box is located in the Superior Police Department lobby at 1316 N. 14th St., Suite 150 and is available from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Medicine collection events have been held bi-annually in the city, according to Wendy Grethen, research assistant with the environmental services division. While they do collect a lot of drugs during these one-day events, said Superior Police Chief Charles LaGesse, “I know we’re only getting a small portion” of the expired drugs out there. By making the process more convenient, he said, they hope to get many more potentially harmful medicines out of medicine cabinets in the area.
Keeping unwanted, unused or expired pharmaceuticals in the home can put a family at risk for theft, prescription drug abuse and accidental poisoning. Prescription drug abuse is a growing local and national issue with many drug abusers taking medications from their family and friends, according to LaGesse. Families with children or pets are also especially vulnerable to accidental poisoning through ingestion of medication.
Flushing medications down the toilet or putting them in the trash to dispose of them is discouraged. The city’s wastewater treatment plant has no way to pull those chemicals out of the water, Grethen said, so they flow through and end up in the lake and, ultimately, local drinking water. If they are thrown in the trash, the chemicals can leach out of landfills into the soil and water. The drop box encourages residents to dispose of these medicines responsibly.
“It’s great to have it right here as a way to keep our waters healthy and clean,” Grethen said. The medicines will be stored safely until they can be incinerated, according to LaGesse.
The process for using the drop box is confidential. Residents should cross out any identifying information on medication packaging. The medication can then be brought to the drop box in the Police Department lobby. All household prescription and over-the-counter medications, including pet medication, are accepted. Needles, syringes, lancets and thermometers are not accepted at the drop box.
Needles, syringes and lancets may be brought to Essentia Health Superior Pharmacy, 3500 Tower Ave., according to information posted on the city’s website.
Residents with questions about the program can contact the Superior Police Department at 715-395-7234 or look it up through the city’s website, www.ci.superior.wi.us. Go to the public works page, click on the environmental services division button, then click on medicine drop box button.