Sauk County had 66 overdose deaths over the past six years. Of those, 61 were considered accidental. B
To help reduce those statistics, the Wisconsin Department of Justice and Department of Health Services holds Drug Take Back events through its Dose of Reality campaign. The campaign aims to get unwanted or unused prescription painkillers and other medications out of homes and off the streets, and less opportunity for those medications to be abused.
On May 30 Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, along with Sauk Prairie Police Chief Jerry Strunz revealed the number of pounds of medications collected during the spring Drug Take Back event during a press conference at Fuchs Trucking in Sauk City. The event was held at Fuchs Trucking due to the transportation company’s partnership in the program.
Schimel said 63,541 pounds of unused medications were collected in the program’s most recent collection in April. Fuchs was instrumental in transporting the three semi-truckloads full of medications to a secure facility in Southeast Wisconsin, and then transported to a facility in Indianapolis to be incinerated.
“With the help of Fuchs Trucking, and various others on the private side, and with the assistance of 312 law enforcement agencies around the state over the past three years, the Wisconsin Department of Justice has led in collecting 401,769 pounds of unused medications,” Schimel said. “That’s more than 400,000 pounds of medications that will not end up in the water supply when people flush their unused pills. That’s 400,000 pounds of medications that won’t be diverted to those struggling with addiction.”
Strunz said people are 40 times more likely to be addicted to heroin if they become addicted to pain pills.
“It is our goal to reduce the availability of prescription pain medications that are being diverted from the original patient,” he said. “The Drug Take Back program is a tool that can assist in preventing prescription medication from being used by individuals who may not be completely aware of the risks of addiction that may occur.”
Strunz said Sauk Prairie area residents have turned in over 4,000 pounds of prescription medication over the past five years.
Schimel said Fuchs trucking has been a tremendous partner in Wisconsin Drug Takeback program.
“Just this April, we collected over 63,000 pounds of medication,” Schimel said. “Drivers from Fuchs trucking and trailers from Fuchs trucking got these drugs safely down to an incinerator in Indianapolis.”
Schimel said Wisconsin’s collection fell behind only two other states: Texas and California.
“Those two states collected only slightly more than us and their populations are much larger than ours,” Schimel said. He also noted Wisconsin was number one in the nation for law enforcement participation in the program.
Jay Doescher, President, Fuchs Trucking, said being a part of the program has been great, and called the Drug Take Back event “a wonderful program.”