The old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” takes on new meaning when it comes to substance use problems. If we can prevent someone from becoming dependent on alcohol and other drugs, we can save lives and prevent heartache.
Many people take prescription and over-the-counter medications for specific medical reasons, sometimes to save their lives. But these same medications can be dangerous if they’re taken by the wrong person—for example, by a child or someone who is developing a substance use problem.
A high percentage of people who become addicted to opioids were either prescribed the medication themselves and become dependent, or they tried someone else’s medication. Many times, they took pills from someone’s medicine cabinet, bedside table, or purse.
Fortunately, there are things everyone can do to prevent someone from becoming dependent on alcohol, painkillers, and street drugs. These “ounces of prevention” are easy to do:
Keep your meds safe: It’s important to store your meds in a lock box or pouch for medication, a locked safe or cabinet, or another safe space that only you can get into. You can find free lock pouches for medication in Harm Reduction Vending Machines around Milwaukee County, or purchase one for yourself.
You can find Harm Reduction Vending Machines at these locations in Milwaukee County:
- Wisconsin Community Services, Inc. (WCS) -- 2600 W. North Ave. Milwaukee, WI 53205
- Greendale Health Department -- 5650 Parking St. Greendale, WI 53129
- Outreach Community Health Centers -- 210 W. Capitol Drive, Milwaukee, WI 53212
- Oak Creek Fire Department -- 7000 S. 6th St.
- Community Advocates -- 728 N. James Lovell St. Milwaukee, WI 53233
- Diverse & Resilient -- 2439 N. Holton St
- Hillview Building -- 1615 S. 22nd St Milwaukee, WI 53204
- Milwaukee County Community Reintegration Center -- 8885 S. 68th Street
- First Step -- 2835 N. 32nd St.
- AMRI Counseling Services -- 4001 W. Capitol Drive
Destroy medication you don’t need: Please do not flush your unwanted pills down the toilet or throw them in the garbage. The Harm Reduction Vending Machines include kits that deactivate medication so that they do not harm anyone.
Get rid of unwanted medication: Many locations around the county have secure drop boxes for your unwanted medication, no questions asked. Here's a map of secure drug drop boxes. You can also take part in the Drug Take Back Day on October 28 at locations all over Wisconsin.
RISE Drug Free MKE is a project of Community Advocates Public Policy Institute. You can find a Harm Reduction Vending Machine in the reception area of our offices at 728 N. James Lovell St., Milwaukee. Photo by Ron Lach courtesy of pexels.com.