This year, La Crosse County has had 32 drug overdose deaths, more than double the number of drug deaths in 2019, and more than any other year.
To help make an impact, the Alliance to HEAL is encouraging proper disposal of unused, expired medications during National Drug Take Back Day Saturday, Oct. 24. There is no specific event for medication disposal, but there are multiple ways to dispose of unused prescription medications in La Crosse County. The county has 17 medication drop boxes installed at public buildings, pharmacies, law enforcement agencies, and other locations. There is also an interactive map to find those boxes.
Alliance to HEAL (Halting the Effects of Addiction Locally) said the drop boxes also help the environment by reducing pollution in water and landfills. Additionally, there are 15 sharps box locations strategically located throughout the county to properly dispose of medical sharps.
Although prescription opioids have been significantly less present in the Medical Examiner’s toxicology reports, illicit opioids such as heroin and fentanyl, and stimulants such as meth, remain at record highs, according to Alliance to HEAL. The community response group is funded by Gundersen Health System, Mayo Clinic Health System, La Crosse Community Foundation, La Crosse County, and collaborative partner; the City of La Crosse.
Because of the COVID pandemic and the public closure of some municipalities and businesses, not all sites are currently open to the public.
PRESCRIPTION DRUG DROP BOXES CURRENTLY OPEN TO THE PUBLIC (NOT FOR BUSINESS USE):
1. Both healthcare systems, which include Mayo Clinic and Gundersen sites
2. Cass Street Pharmacy in La Crosse
3. Student Health Center on UWL Campus – open only during the days and hours (Mon, Wed, Thurs, Fri: 8am-4pm, Tues: 9am-4pm)
4. La Crosse County Sheriff’s Department Lobby during business hours – 333 Vine Street
5. Onalaska Police Department – during business hours which are Mon. & Wed. 9am-1pm and Tues. & Thurs. 1pm-5pm
6. Campbell Police Department – By appointment only. Call the non-emergency dispatch line at 608-785-5942 to arrange a time to drop off medications
7. Bangor Police Department – the building itself isn’t open, but if people come to the door, they will open it for them and take their medications. There is also a number on the door to call when you arrive. Police staff are present every day from 6:30am and 2:30pm. Please call the Police Department directly at their general number 608-486-4084 before dropping off.
PRESCRIPTION DRUG DROP BOXES CURRENTLY CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC:
1. La Crosse Police Department
2. Holmen Police Department
3. West Salem Police Department