The dangers of a medicine cabinet: Drug Take Back day is Saturday

LA CROSSE (WKBT) — Some of the most dangerous drugs are easy to get. According to state and local health officials, you can find them in your medicine cabinet. Saturday is Drug Take Back Day. People can dispose of their unwanted medication at several take back boxes.

When you’re under the weather, it’s likely you’ve reached into a medicine cabinet for some relief. Addictions specialists say for kids, it can be a gateway to a drug addiction.

“These meds are out there, they have heard a lot about them and they might be curious on what they can do,” said Rita Von Haden, the executive director of Coulee Recovery for La Crosse.

Gundersen Health System physician Chris Eberlein says he treats roughly one overdose a week.

“Many of those are due to prescription drugs that are in a medicine cabinet,” said Eberlein.

According to Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, prescription medication is a common starting point for substance abuse.

“And that is one of the things that can lead to addictions, including addictions to opioids,” said Kaul.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, in 2020, more than 1,200 Wisconsinites overdosed on opioids. Local counties, including La Crosse, have either met or broken records for opioid related deaths year after year.

“Especially now as we’ve seen an increase in the danger in some of the opioids out there, like fentanyl,” said Kaul.

State and local health officials say its more important than ever to take part in Drug Take Back day.

“People need to be aware that if they haven’t been prescribed medications, taking those medications can be dangerous,” said Kaul.

During the last take back day, Wisconsin led the nation for drugs collected. La Crosse county Sheriff Jeff Wolf says La Crosse has consistently participated in the event.

“I’m proud to say over the past decade we have averaged over 250 pounds on every drug take back we have,” said Wolf.

Wolf says La Crosse residents are doing their part, to keep the prescription medication out of the wrong hands.

Experts say to treat veterinary medication with just as much care as those for people.

To find out your local drug take back location, click here.