Drug Take Back Day critical in prevention of addiction, crime

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Here in southeast Wisconsin, there have been over 1,200 ambulances called to possible opioid overdoses so far this year.

If you have old prescription drugs around the home, those on the front lines of the opioid epidemic say safely disposing of them is one way to fight back.

National Drug Take Back Day is Saturday, April 30, and law enforcement officials said this fights back where opioid addiction starts.

"I started asking the question, 'you knew it was a bad idea to use heroin, so why did you start?' I never once heard somebody tell me, 'well I decided to put the needle in my arm," said Officer Gary Wallace with the Franklin Police Department.

He said that's why it's important people like him partner with Attorney General Josh Kaul for National Drug Take Back Day.

"Many people who become addicted to opioids first become addicted by using prescription medications," said Kaul.

Kaul said prescription drugs often get swiped by people from medicine cabinets, or people who are prescribed drugs end up becoming addicted.

Ellen Henry, Franklin Drug Free Community Coalition Coordinator, said that's why they offer education to parents and young people about how addiction works, and talk about ways to stop it.

"Always know which medications you have in your home, and safely store them," said Henry.

Kaul said disposing of all kinds of over the counter or prescription drugs at drop-offs is important for the environment, as well.

"Water filtration systems can't filter out medications, and so when flushing of drugs happens, those drugs remain in our water system," said Kaul.

The overall focus is education about treatment of and preventing addiction to opiates. However, Officer Wallace says stopping addiction before it starts cuts down on crimes committed.

"The best place to do that is in the home, where a lot of these people are having their first introductions to these addicting drugs," said Kaul.

You can find drug take back events near you Saturday, April 30 by clicking here, or click here to find a drop box near you. There are details about what can and cannot be dropped off at both links.

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