EAU CLAIRE, Wis. –– Saturday, April 22, is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. The goal of the day is to provide a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposal of prescription medications, and to educate the public about the potential for abuse of these medications. Mayo Clinic Health System provides a safe and convenient way to dispose of unused or expired prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines year-round at its pharmacies in Northwest Wisconsin.

Specially designated receptacles, called Take Back Boxes, are available at Mayo Clinic Health System locations in Barron, Eau Claire, Menomonie and Osseo.

“Keeping medications indefinitely at home can lead to unintended outcomes,” says Melissa Kenevan, M.D., a pain medicine physician at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire and Menomonie. “Sometimes, patients will incorrectly use leftover prescriptions when they should seek medical attention. Or worse, unsecured prescriptions could fall into the hands of a child or teenager rummaging through a medicine cabinet. And medications can lose their efficacy if kept past their expiration date. People can minimize this chance by disposing of medications once they are no longer needed.”

Opioid diversion continues to be a serious problem in the U.S. Opioids were involved in more than 68,000 deaths in 2020, which was 8.5 times the number of opioid-involved overdose deaths in 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To avoid diversion and misuse of opioids, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recommends destroying unused or expired opioids, or having patients drop off medications to a DEA-designated drop box or take back program.

Medications can be disposed of at these Mayo Clinic Health System Pharmacy locations and times:

  • Barron (weekdays, 8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m.–noon)
  • Eau Claire — Clairemont campus (weekdays, 8 a.m.–8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.)
  • Eau Claire — Luther campus (weekdays, 8 a.m.–6 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m.–3 p.m.)
  • Menomonie (weekdays, 8:30 a.m.–6 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m.–noon)
  • Osseo (weekdays, 9 a.m.–5:30 p.m., and Saturday, 8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.)

The receptacles are intended for patients and the public. Anything placed in the receptacles, even unintended objects like a cellphone or a child’s toy, can’t be retrieved. Medications are sealed in opaque liners that cannot be opened prior to destruction.

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