La Crosse is the latest Wisconsin community to set up permanent prescription drug drop boxes throughout the county.
The seven drop boxes will be installed inside police stations and at the sheriff’s department. People can get rid of their old and unused prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs anytime now, instead of waiting months for medication drop off events. The hope is that it will keep controlled substances out of the hands of children and people at-risk of abusing pills.
Setting up the drop boxes was one of the first recommendations made by the La Crosse County Heroin Task Force. Co-chair Mike Desmond said prescription drug abuse is a major factor in the heroin epidemic.
“The primary reason people were using heroin is because it’s cheaper,” said Desmond. “But their addiction started with opiate addiction, with prescription drugs. So, to try to attack to heroin issue without going after one of its root causes would be foolish.”
Cheryl Wittke is the executive director of Safe Communities Madison-Dane County , which helped La Crosse develop its drop off program. She said more people in the Madison area are getting rid of their unused medications.
Wittke also said more controlled substances could be properly disposed if federal laws changed.
“The next stage is (for it) to be easier for pharmacies to take medicines back,” said Wittke. “Everyone who’s involved in this has been anxiously awaiting new (Drug Enforcement Administration) rules that’ll make it easier to do that.”
Permanent prescription drug drop boxes can also be found in Racine, Fond du Lac, Ozaukee, and Monroe counties.
In La Crosse County, the drop boxes can be found at the following locations: