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medication drop off box
April 22, 2021

Drop Off Unused Medication on ‘Take Back Day’

ThedaCare Offers Safe Way to Dispose of Prescription Drugs

APPLETON, Wis. – Whether you’ve been through an illness or an injury – or you just haven’t cleaned out your medicine cabinet in a while – chances are you may have unused prescription drugs somewhere in the house.

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on April 24, 2021 is a perfect time to safely dispose of those medications, reducing the possibility that they will be abused or will contaminate the water supply.

“Friends and family can often be the source of abused or misused prescription drugs, whether these medications are willingly offered or taken from home medicine cabinets,” said Sarah Raether, Medication Diversion Prevention Specialist for ThedaCare. “Offering a way to dispose of unused prescriptions helps reduce the danger of overdoses and addiction.”

Take Back Day was launched by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as a part of the Responsible Drug Act of 2010, which allowed for the creation of designated collection sites like those at ThedaCare. In 2018, 9.9 million Americans misused prescription drugs, according to a National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

In 2019, ThedaCare set up secure drop boxes throughout Northeast and Central Wisconsin to provide a simple pathway for anyone in the community to bring in unused prescriptions.

“We wanted everyone to have access to these disposal sites,” Raether said. “Drug abuse and addiction are concerns that impact many of the communities we serve, and as a health care organization it is important that we offer help and find solutions.”

Take Back boxes are also located at other facilities including police stations and retail pharmacies. ThedaCare offers convenient and secure disposal options, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for communities to dispose of unused medications in the following locations:

  • ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Appleton
  • ThedaCare Medical Center-Berlin
  • ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah
  • ThedaCare Medical Center-New London
  • ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano
  • ThedaCare Medical Center-Waupaca
  • ThedaCare Cancer Care-Oshkosh (available during clinic hours)
Items accepted for disposal include:Items NOT accepted for disposal:
Expired, unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medicationsMedicated ointmentsNon-aerosol spraysNeedles/lancets/syringesThermometersIV bagsDiabetes test kitsPersonal care productsInhalersLiquids

The boxes are available for people to drop off unwanted prescriptions anytime, not only on April’s Take Back Day. ThedaCare continues to take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our hospitals and clinics. Visitors must remain masked at all times. Please do not visit if you are experiencing common COVID-19 symptoms, including: Fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, headache, sore throat, etc. Call your primary care provider to direct you to appropriate care. Visitors who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, or do not comply with masking guidelines, will be asked to leave.

Disposing of any kind of unneeded prescriptions can help prevent misuse, overdose, as well as accidental poisoning in children. Additionally, safely discarding medication helps keep prescription drugs out of the public water supply as well as lakes and streams, Raether said.

“The take back boxes are the most environmentally friendly way to dispose of unwanted prescriptions,” she explained. “Flushing drugs down the toilet is no longer a safe option.”

To date, more than 2,200 pounds of drugs have been destroyed since the boxes were put in place in 2019 at ThedaCare locations.

If you or someone you know is struggling with opioid addiction, please contact a treatment service such as the Wisconsin Addiction Recovery Helpline through 2-1-1 or if you need immediate assistance with adult behavioral health services, please call (920) 720-2300 or visit

The medication take-back boxes were made possible through the generosity of donors of the following ThedaCare Family of Foundations communities: Appleton, Berlin, New London, Shawano and Waupaca. To help support continued financial needs, you can make a gift online at or send contributions to ThedaCare Family of Foundations, 1818 N. Meade Street, Appleton, WI 54911.

About ThedaCare

For more than 110 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to improving the health of the communities it serves in northeast and central Wisconsin. The organization delivers care to more than 600,000 residents in 18 counties and employs approximately 7,000 health care professionals. ThedaCare has 180 points of care, including seven hospitals. As an organization committed to being a leader in Population Health, team members are dedicated to empowering people to live their best lives through easy access to individualized care, supporting each person’s own health and wellbeing. ThedaCare also partners with communities to understand unique needs, finding solutions together, and encouraging health awareness and action. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care

Network Member, giving specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a not-for-profit health system with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs, as well as primary care.

For more information, visit or follow ThedaCare on social media. Members of the media should call Cassandra Wallace, Public and Media Relations Consultant at 920.442.0328 or the ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah switchboard at 920.729.3100 and ask for the marketing person on call.