Get the Meds Out!
“Get the Meds Out” was a pharmaceutical waste mail-back program created by the University of Wisconsin-Extension. The program, which ran from August 2011 to December 2011, successfully collected over 3000 pounds of unwanted or expired medication. It served residents of the 36 Great Lakes watershed counties (List of Counties) of Wisconsin by providing free medication disposal envelopes in pharmacies, county health departments, police stations, hospice organizations, and senior citizens centers.
“Get the Meds Out” was designed to address several problems regarding unwanted drug waste. First, to help curb prescription pill drug abuse by getting potentially harmful medications out of people’s homes. Many people who abuse drugs get them from friends and family members who have left them around the house or cannot find a safe disposal solution. Second, to minimize environmental effects of drugs in the Great Lakes, becuase trace amounts of pharmaceutical compounds have been detected in the Great Lakes. Research has demonstrated that these compounds can have a detrimental effect on aquatic life. The long-term human health effects remain unknown. And third, to gather information to help design better collection programs in the future.
In keeping with its mission, UW-Extension strives for community outreach and education. The “Get the Meds Out” program was critical in reaching out to Wisconsin residents and meeting their need for a safe, easy and convenient method of medication disposal. We hope that through this and other similar programs, the people of Wisconsin will become better informed about their options for safely getting rid of unwanted medication.
Amount collected as of August 31, 2012: 3000 pounds
For information about what to do with leftover envelopes, contact the Project Coordinator (414-227-3160).
Want to learn more about the grant? Check out the Grant overview.
Check out the list of permanent disposal locations in Wisconsin.
Goals of the Program:
- Address the rising amount of prescription pill drug abuse in Wisconsin
- Reduce the environmental impact of pharmaceuticals in the Great Lakes (Basin map)
- Educate Wisconsin communities about safe drug disposal
- Provide a convenient and simple method of safe drug disposal
How the Program Worked:
- We provide interested pharmacies/facilities with mail-back envelopes and outreach materials
- Facility or pharmacy hands out the free, prepaid envelope to anyone interested
- People fill the envelope with their unwanted medicines and take the enclosed survey
- Envelope is mailed to the Maine DEA, where medicines are sorted and safely disposed