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September 12, 2019


Offering Safer Disposal Options for Northeast and Central Wisconsin

Caption: ThedaCare now offers convenient and secure disposal options for unused medication, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at seven ThedaCare locations.

September 12, 2019


Offering Safer Disposal Options for Northeast and Central Wisconsin

APPLETON, Wis. – Since 2005, the rate of opioid use disorder has more than tripled, according to data provided by the Wisconsin Division of Public Health. Recently, ThedaCare launched the opioid awareness campaign developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “It only takes a little to lose a lot”.

“ThedaCare is committed to combatting the opioid epidemic in Northeast and Central Wisconsin communities,” said Dr. Jennifer Frank, Chief Medical Officer of the ThedaCare Clinically Integrated Network. “We want to help those in our care understand how to use opioids safely.”

The public will see different forms of campaign presence, including billboards, social media and public service announcements across the nine county service area. The next phase of the opioid campaign includes the implementation of medication take-back boxes throughout the ThedaCare system. 

“If a patient is prescribed an opioid, they should take and dispose of medications properly,” explained Dr. Frank. “Unused prescription medications in homes are a concern, because they can be accidentally ingested, stolen and abused.”

Unused or expired medicine should never be flushed or poured down the drain. Medicine take-back options are the best way to safely dispose of most types of medicines.

ThedaCare now 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

Those who are dropping off medication will find signage directing to the drop box at each specific location. In 2014, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) implemented the Responsible Drug Act of 2010, which provides a pathway for DEA registered locations to seek designation as an authorized collector of unwanted and unused medications. The DEA’s goal in extending authorization is to reduce prescription drug abuse by increasing the options for the public to responsibly and securely dispose of their medications. The act establishes regulations that outline how the take back program is to be implemented and managed. The boxes will be securely installed and continually monitored to ensure safety and security.

Accepted items for disposal:

  • Expired, unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications
  • Medicated ointments
  • Non-aerosol sprays

NOT Accepted for disposal:

  • Needles/lancets/syringes
  • Thermometers
  • IV bags
  • Diabetes test kits
  • Personal care products (shampoo, lotion, etc.)
  • Inhalers
  • Liquids

ThedaCare is one of the few healthcare organizations in Northeast and Central Wisconsin which have permanent take back boxes located in their hospitals.

“We want all community members, even if they are not ThedaCare patients, to have access to safe disposal options,” said Dr. Frank. “This is part of our responsibility to help find solutions to issues we are facing as a community.”

In addition to the take-back boxes at ThedaCare, permanent drop boxes are often found in police stations, select hospital systems and retail pharmacies.

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 ThedaCare Behavioral Health. A list of services and contact information can be found by visiting the ThedaCare opioid resource page.

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 finding a better way to deliver serious and complex healthcare to patients throughout Northeast and Central Wisconsin. The organization serves a community of more than 600,000 residents and employs more than 6,700 healthcare professionals throughout the regions. ThedaCare has seven hospitals located in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, Waupaca, Shawano, New London and Wild Rose as well as 31 clinics in nine counties. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving our specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a non-profit healthcare organization with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs as well as a foundation dedicated to community service.

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