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MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Secretary Cathy Stepp joined forces today to encourage Wisconsinites to participate in the upcoming National Prescription Drug “Take-Back” Day, which is scheduled for Saturday, September 27, 2014, from 10 am to 2 pm, in communities across Wisconsin.
The “Take-Back” service is free and anonymous. Individuals with unwanted, expired or unused prescription drugs may drop them off at collection sites statewide. Using your zip code, you can find a drop-off location near you by visiting the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s website: www.DEA.gov.
“Prescription drug abuse is considered to be the nation’s fastest growing drug problem. We also know those who abuse prescription drugs may transition to using heroin instead, as a cheaper, more easily attainable alternative,” Van Hollen said. “These circumstances underscore why it is so tremendously important that we all drop off our unused prescription drugs to prevent them from being diverted and abused. Wisconsin has an impressive record of participation in these ‘Take-Back’ events, and I’m hopeful we’ll continue to properly dispose of our unwanted medications in record numbers.”
“We are proud that Wisconsin was one of the nation’s leaders in the safe return on these medications in 2014,” said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. “The annual ‘Take-Back’ program sponsored by the DEA and DOJ does a tremendous job of collecting and safely disposing of the state’s unused and unwanted prescription drugs. The improper disposal of prescription drugs is a threat to our state’s natural resources and to public health, and the Drug Take-Back Day does wonders to counteract those dangers.”
According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), between 2002 and 2013 prescription opioid-related deaths rose from 144 in 2002 to 324 in 2012; heroin-related deaths rose from 27 in 2002 to 187 in 2012.
Ahead of this month’s “Take-Back” Day, the Department of Justice is airing television and radio spots to highlight the link between prescription drugs and Heroin, and to promote September’s “Take-Back” Day. One of the individuals featured in the Department’s Heroin prevention public awareness campaign known as “The Fly Effect,” Mandy, shares her story of transitioning from abusing Oxycontin as a teenager to using Heroin after her dealer suggested she try it. You can view the TV spot here.
Earlier this year, during April’s National Prescription Drug “Take-Back” Day, Wisconsin residents dropped off 25 tons (50,485 lbs.) of unwanted, expired or unused prescription drugs at 200 collection sites statewide. According to the DEA, which coordinates the biannual “Take-Back” events nationwide, Wisconsin ranked third in the nation in the total amount collected, trailing only California and Texas.
During “Take-Back” Day in October of last year, Wisconsin residents dropped off 19.25 tons (38,506 lbs) worth of unwanted, expired or unused prescription drugs at nearly 180 collection sites statewide, putting Wisconsin at 4th in the nation in the total amount collected. In addition to the many local law enforcement agencies that participate as drop-off sites for residents, the Wisconsin State Patrol, Wisconsin National Guard and special agents with the Department of Justice – Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) assist with “Take-Back” efforts.
The Fly Effect
Last fall, Attorney General Van Hollen joined local law enforcement, first responders, community leaders and others to introduce the multimedia campaign to educate teens, young adults and others about Heroin. Law enforcement, community groups, families and others are encouraged to view and to share The Fly Effect videos and materials in their prevention efforts. Visit TheFlyEffect.com for more information about Heroin, personal stories and treatment resources. Downloadable materials (including posters, brochures, fact sheets and other resources) from The Fly Effect also are available at the DOJ’s website at www.doj.state.wi.us.