Protecting Our Water from Pharmaceutical Waste

 

Old prescription drugs present many risks: flushed down the toilet or thrown in the trash, and they could end up in our water; left in the medicine cabinet, and they could end up in the wrong hands.

This is particularly true in Milwaukee. Water from the sewer system empties into Lake Michigan, which provides most of Milwaukee’s drinking water. Studies from the UW-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences have found intact compounds from pharmaceuticals in Lake Michigan, which is detrimental to both public health and our water resources. Studies have also shown that prescription drugs are easily accessible to 3 in 5 teenagers, especially when old medications are not properly disposed of, contributing to incidents of overdose–a leading cause of accidental death in Milwaukee.

Clean Wisconsin, along with partner organizations in healthcare, has formed a coalition to protect our health and water from unused medications. The Take Back Your Meds Milwaukee coalition is building a network of prescription drop-off boxes across Milwaukee County, thereby raising awareness of the dangers of unused pharmaceuticals and encouraging responsible disposal.

Learn more about the Take Back Your Meds Milwaukee initiative.