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County residents have new option for safe med disposal

Douglas County residents can now get rid of old and unused medications simply by heading to the post office.

The benefits are two-fold. It keeps the drugs out of the hands of would-be abusers -- prescription drug abuse is on the rise in Wisconsin -- and it keeps them out of the Great Lakes.

"Get the Meds Out," a free program to dispose of old and unused medications developed by the University of Wisconsin-Extension in Milwaukee. It allows residents in counties where watersheds empty into Lake Superior or Lake Michigan to send unwanted prescription medications to a facility run by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency in Maine for safe disposal.

Research has shown that pharmaceuticals negatively impact aquatic life and water quality.

Participating sites provide mail-back envelopes at no cost to residents. People fill the envelope with their unwanted medicines and take the enclosed survey. Finally, they mail the envelope with their medications to Maine where the medicines are sorted for safe disposal.

In Douglas County, residents can get free mail-back envelopes at the County Treasurer's Officer, Room 102 of the Douglas County Courthouse; K-Mart Pharmacy, 3015 Tower Ave.; and Essentia Pharmacy at the St. Mary's Hospital, 3500 Tower Ave.

"This initiative will augment the successful one-day collections held in Superior and Douglas County in the past, not eliminate them," said Mary Klun, recycling coordinator for Superior and Douglas County.

For more information about "Get the Meds Out," visit

pharma, or call Klun at (715) 395-1293.