The Stevens Point Journal (Wisconsin)
BYLINE: Cara Spoto, Journal staff
Portage County, WI
Portage County residents now have another place to properly dispose of old and unused medication.
The village of Plover Police Department installed its first pharmaceutical drop box Aug. 21, making it the second pharmaceutical drop box in the county.
The village ordered the box last month after seeing the success Stevens Point had with its drop box. Village officials hope its box will provide a more convenient drop-off location for village residents.
The Stevens Point Police Department collected roughly 135 pounds of medications in its pharmaceutical drop box in the first two months it was installed.
The receptacle looks like a mailbox and will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, except holidays. Residents can get at the box inside the police department lobby by entering through the door off Post Road.
Plover Police Officer Andy Hopfensperger, who worked with the Portage County Solid Waste Department to get a box, said Tuesday that the department is glad to offer another avenue for Plover residents who want to get potentially dangerous medications out of their homes.
"There has been an increase in prescription medication thefts and abuse," Hopfensperger said.
Once the police department has collected enough pills, they will call pharmacists to sort them, separating controlled substances, such as Vicodin, diet pills, and Ritalin, from uncontrolled substances, such as blood pressure medication and aspirin.
Plover will give the uncontrolled substances to the Portage County Solid Waste Department to dispose, the same practice used by the Stevens Point Police Department.
The controlled substances will be counted and recorded, put in large tubs sealed with evidence tape and locked in the department's property room until a courier picks them up. The pills will then be incinerated for about $3 a pound.
Properly disposing of the pills will keep the medications from being thrown in the garbage and flushed down the toilet, polluting rivers and streams. It also will ensure that they don't end up in the hands of drug abusers.
"When people flush medications down the toilet, they get into the wastewater and it's not all treatable. And you don't want to dump medications into landfills either, because they will eventually work their way into the groundwater," said Scott Schedler, county solid waste administrator.
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