Prescription and over-the-counter medications are a contaminant of emerging concern (CEC) known to impact source water. Water treatment facilities are not designed to remove pharmaceutical contaminants, and trace amounts of have been found in rivers and lakes around the world. To reduce the amount of pharmaceuticals entering the Great Lakes, communities around the basin have implemented programs to raise awareness and provide safe disposal of unused drugs.  

City of Milwaukee

  • The city of Milwaukee coordinates with leaders to help people to safely dispose of unwanted or expired prescription and over-the-counter medications to reduce the amount of pharmaceutical chemicals reaching Lake Michigan.
  • The city has drop boxes at municipal buildings and police stations, as well as a Drug Mail Back program.
  • A comprehensive map of all drop box locations in Milwaukee County can be found at the Take Back My Meds MKE website.

Blue drug take-back boxes are available at multiple Milwaukee city buildings.

City of Toledo

  • The Toledo Police Department provides 24-hour unwanted prescription medication drop-off sites for all solid drugs and pills and participates in biannual Prescription Drug Take Back Days, to reduce the amount of pharmaceutical chemicals reaching Lake Erie.
  • Since 2014, the Toledo Police Department has collected over 11,000 pounds of unwanted/unused medication.