Cedarburg and Port Washington will be participating in National Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, Oct. 22.
There will be collection sites open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. that day at the Ozaukee County Transit Center in Port Washington and the Cedarburg Police Department.
The collection sites will accept all prescription medications, over-the-counter pills, and liquid substances in their original bottles. Any substances in needles and aerosol cans will not be accepted due to safety concerns and lack of proper disposals for those containers.
This collection day is part of a nationwide initiative headed by the DEA and the Department of Justice to reduce the number of unused medications and other substances in households. Detective Sgt. Jeffrey Vahsholtz of the Cedarburg Police Department sees the collection as having two goals specifically for the Ozaukee community.
"The first goal is to get the medications out of households with children," explains Vahsholtz. "Kids figure out that it's a cheap way to get high or see an opportunity to sell them. The second goal is to have an environmentally friendly way. Many people who try to dispose of medications and other drugs end up flushing them down the toilet, which can contaminate bodies of water in the area."
Detective Michael McNerney, Vasholtz's partner, is a juvenile officer who works closely with Cedarburg High School and sees the collection day as a critical action in curbing drug use and distributions in the area schools.
"This day gives us a helping hand to our reactive approach to stopping the spread of drugs in schools," says McNerney, who has seen firsthand the ease in which students in the schools gain access to the drugs in their own households.
"These are powerful drugs that are supposed to be prescribed by a doctor, and kids as young as middle school are taking them recreationally without understanding the dangers."
According to McNerney, the collections help along with drug testing and education in the schools, but he sees this also an issue that can be addressed by parents.
"Parents should know exactly what kind of drugs are under their roofs," says McNerney. "Even something as simple as cough syrup can be dangerous in recreational use. My message to parents is that if there are medications or prescription drugs that are no longer being used, take this collection day as an opportunity to dispose of them once and for all.