Janesville76.2°

Prescription drug roundup might be a record-breaker

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ANN MARIE AMES
April 21, 2010
— Hundreds of Rock County families cleaned out their medicine cabinets Saturday, and the fifth year of Rx Roundups is poised to be a record breaker.

Public officials and volunteers collected 1,038 pounds of medications from 829 households in Janesville, Edgerton, Milton and Beloit, said Tim Banwell, Rock County environmental health director.


“It was a very good day,” Banwell said.


Saturday’s event was one of least two planned for the year.


Residents dropped off medications and equipment such as needles or glucose testing pins at collection sites in the four cities.


Many officials and health care professionals volunteered to work the event because they think it’s important to limit the amount of controlled substances that could be taken from medicine cabinets and abused, Banwell said.


The event collected 92 pounds of controlled substances including narcotic-based prescriptions. That material will be held in police evidence lockers until it can be disposed of.


The vast majority of the medications collected will be incinerated, Banwell said.


This is the fifth year the semi-annual Rx Roundup has taken place in the county. Last year, volunteers collected 1,600 pounds during two roundups and two senior fairs.


Another event is planned for Sept. 11.


Planners used a $4,500 grant from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to plan this year’s roundup events, Banwell said. If the cost exceeds that, the overage will be split between the cities of Janesville and Beloit and the county, Banwell said.


It costs about $2 per pound to handle and dispose of the unwanted medications, he said.


Advocates for the program will meet in May to talk about how the program could be expanded or made to better fit Rock County, Banwell said.


In some communities, pharmacies or police departments keep bins in lobbies for disposal of some medications, he said. In other places, some non-controlled and non-expired medications can be donated to programs that help people who can’t afford to buy medication, he said.



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