MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin ranked No. 1 in the U.S. for the 2023 spring Drug Take Back Day, the Wisconsin DOJ announced Wednesday.

The state collected the most unwanted prescription medications on the day, totaling more than 55,000 pounds.

In fall 2022, Wisconsin also finished in the number one spot, with a total of 54,040 pounds collected.

“Wisconsin’s Drug Take Back once again led the nation thanks to the hard work and collaboration of many partners and, of course, the many Wisconsinites who participated by safely disposing of their unused and unneeded medications,” said Attorney General Kaul.

Since the Drug Take Back program began in 2010, Wisconsin has collected over 1 million pounds in unwanted medications, making the Badger State third in the nation for overall mediations collected. California ranks as number one and Texas at No. 2.

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration leads Drug Take Back Days two days a year in the fall and the spring. It’s meant to provide people with a safe, easy and responsible way to dispose of their unwanted medications and to educate the community about improper storage and disposal.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Service, storing unwanted medications in a medicine cabinet can lead to misuse by family, friends or other visitors. If they’re thrown in the trash, they can also fall into the wrong hands. Flushing them down a toilet is no better, as it can contaminate the water supply.

That’s why the DEA and DHS encourage people to give their medications on Drug Take Back Day.

But those two special collection days out of the year aren’t the only opportunity for Wisconsinites to safely dispose of their unwanted medications. They can do so year-round.

There are more than 490 permanent drug disposal boxes around the state at law enforcement agencies, hospitals, pharmacies and health clinics.

Here’s how to use a drug drop box and what you can bring.

How to use a drop box

Before you visit:

  • Review the medication’s packaging for any special disposal instruction. If there are no instruction listed, you can dispose of the medication at the drop box.
  • Remove personal information from your medication packaging. If you cannot do so, use a dark marker to cover it up.

After dropping:

  • After you’ve inserted your medication in the drop box, make sure your item made it into the box. Open the slot again to ensure it’s empty.

What type of prescriptions are accepted?

  • Capsules
  • Creams
  • Inhalers
  • Non-aerosol sprays
  • Ointments
  • Pills
  • Patches
  • Vials
  • Liquid that are in their original container
  • Pet medicaitons
  • Vape pens or other e-cigarette devices with the batteries removed

Which are not accepted?

  • Aerosol cans
  • Anything containing blood or bodily fluid
  • Household hazardous waste (paint, pesticides, oil, gas)
  • Illegal drugs
  • Iodine containing medications
  • Mercury thermometers
  • Personal care products like shampoo, lotions, etc.
  • Sharps/syringes
  • Vape pens/e-cigarette devices with a built-in battery

Below is a list of all the permanent drop box locations in the state.