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Milwaukee County Program Aims For More Drug Drop Boxes Outside Pharmacies

Initiative In Part Of Larger Effort To Address Opioid Crisis In Wisconsin

Patrick Sison/AP Photo

An effort is underway in Milwaukee County to place more drop boxes for unused medicine outside pharmacies.

There are community collection days in Wisconsin for unused prescription drugs, and many law enforcement agencies accept the medication, but the medical coalition Take Back My Meds-Milwaukee is trying to place a secure drop box at a pharmacy in every Milwaukee County neighborhood.

Prescription drug drop box at Hayat Pharmacy on Burleigh Street in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Chuck Quirmbach/WPR

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Annual community collection days are good, but the additional drop boxes would be more convenient, said coalition coordinator Jon Richards at a news conference held Thursday, in conjunction with National Drug Take Back Day.

“Every day should be Take Back Day, and what we’re saying with this program is saying no matter where you live, every day of the year you should be able to take back your unused medication,” Richards said.

A Milwaukee pharmacist, Hashim Zaibak, says some of his customers don’t feel comfortable taking unused pain medication to collection boxes at police stations, that’s why his pharmacy on Burleigh Street in Milwaukee recently agreed to have a drop box.

“There’s a little bit of stigma walking into the police station to do that,” he said. “Now, we’re making it a little more comfortable closer to their homes.”

Health officials say when waiting for community collection days, people tend to stockpile unused drugs in their house. That’s considered a bad move, especially with the opioid crisis and more misuse of prescribed painkillers.

Health officials say getting potentially dangerous drugs out of more homes can help combat the current opioid crisis.

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