7 drug drop boxes to be installed in La Crosse County

Public can drop off unused, unwanted or expired medications

There will be seven permanent prescription drug drop-off boxes in La Crosse County.

The drop boxes were obtained through a grant from the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI) in collaboration with CESA 4.

The La Crosse County Heroin Task Force announced Tuesday morning that the drop boxes will be installed at the following locations:

La Crosse County Sheriff’s Department
La Crosse Police Department
Onalaska Police Department
Holmen Police Department
Town of Campbell Police Department
West Salem Police Department
Bangor Police Department

Beginning Monday, July 14, the public can drop off unused, unwanted or expired medication during each department’s normal business hours.

“Police officers at each department will check the drop boxes regularly, collect the content, and prepare it for disposal in a manner that is eco-friendly and in accordance with federal and state laws,” La Crosse police said.

Now residents can get rid of their prescription drugs as soon as they are done taking them, something officials said is going to have a huge impact on the community.

Since 2010, La Crosse County has hosted several community-wide prescription medication drop-off events to collect unused, unwanted and expired medication.

“Every fall and spring we coordinated them through the collaboration with the DEA sponsoring those,” said Lacie Ketelhut with the La Crosse County Prevention Network.

Last October, the La Crosse County Prevention Network collected 1,900 pounds of medication. This April, they collected more than 1,800 pounds.

“Each drop off, we collect more and more medication which really shows the need for disposal sites for these medications to be placed,” said Ketelhut.

With more than 8,500 pounds of medication collected over the past four years, La Crosse County officials are happy to announce permanent drop-boxes.

“We have seven different law enforcement agencies that are going to be placing these prescription drug boxes out and available to the public,” said Sheriff Steve Helegeson with the La Crosse County Sheriff’s Department.

Law enforcement officers will be the ones responsible for collecting, safely storing and disposing of the prescription medication.

Although the boxes are a small addition, officials said it is going to make a big difference, especially when it comes to heroin use in the area.

“There’s a direct correlation to prescription pill abuse and to heroin abuse so if we can take out of those prongs out of the equation for the prescription pills and them out of the hands of people abusing them, that’s really our goal here,” said Chief Ron Tischer with the La Crosse Police Department.

For safety reasons, the boxes will be placed in the lobby of each department.

No one will ask you who you are or what you are dropping off but according to the DEA, someone needs to be there just to make sure it is done in a secure way.

Even though permanent medication drop off sites are available on a daily basis, the county will continue to hold community-wide drop off events.

A drug drop box was also installed at the Sparta Police Department in August 2013.