Don’t Be an Accidental Drug Dealer :: How You Can Help Prevent Medication Abuse in Marathon County

Written by Melissa MooreMeleesa Johnson

As the opiate epidemic grows, it’s imperative that community members do their part in reducing access to medications that can be abused. One way to do that is to get unneeded medications out of homes and into one of the County’s medicine drop boxes.


The goal of the Marathon County Medication Drop Box Program is simple —

To provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposal, while also educating the general public about the potential for medication abuse.

Think of your home . . .

  • What prescription & over-the-counter medications do you have?
  • Where are they kept?
  • What is the expiration date?
  • Would you know if some were missing?

Utilizing the Marathon County Medication Drop Box Program:

  • Improves public safety (from theft or threat of abuse)
  • Protects public health (from accidental ingestions and overdose)
  • Helps protect the environment (prevents medications from entering ground and surface water)


Medication Take Back Day

On Saturday, April 27, 2019, local law enforcement partners will again be participating in the 9th statewide Medication Take Back Day, hosted by the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

Below are the 9 local police departments in Marathon County participating in the weekend “take back” event:

Medication Drop Boxes — Available 24 hrs on Saturday, April 27

  • Rothschild Police Department *  211 Grand Ave., Rothschild
  • Kronenwetter Police Department *  1582 Kronenwetter Dr., Mosinee

Medication Drop Boxes — Available ONLY During Listed Hours on Saturday, April 27

  • Wausau Police Department *  515 Grand Ave., Wausau  *  10 a.m.–2 p.m.
  • Colby–Abbotsford Police Department *  112 W. Spruce St., Abbotsford  *  9 a.m.–1 p.m.
  • Spencer Police Department *  105 S. Park St., Spencer  *  8 a.m.–12 p.m.
  • Edgar Police Department *  224 S. 3rd Ave., Edgar  *  8 a.m.–12 p.m.

Medication Drop Boxes — Available for April 27 “Take Back” Event Hours ONLY

  • NEW THIS YEAR! Athens Police Department *  221 Caroline St, Athens  *  12 p.m.–4 p.m.
  • NEW THIS YEAR! Stratford Police Department *  265 N. 3rd, Stratford  *  10 a.m.–2 p.m.
  • Mosinee Police Department *  225 Main St, Mosinee  *  9 a.m.–12 p.m.

When disposing of medications at one of the local drop box locations, program coordinators ask residents to help save time and valuable police resources by consulting the following lists of what can go IN and what should stay OUT of the medication drop boxes.

What Goes In…

  • Unwanted or expired prescriptions & over-the-counter medications (for people & pets)
    • Special emphasis on commonly abused medications (e.g., prescription painkillers, muscle relaxants, and mood-altering medications like depressants and meds for anxiety or ADHD)
  • Pills dumped OUT from original containers into zip-style bags
    • Blister packages are accepted without medications being removed.
  • Liquids & creams IN original containers inside zip-style bags
  • Inhalers

What Stays Out…

  • Needles, syringes, or IV bags
  • Personal care products (e.g., toothpaste, deodorant, hairspray)
  • Vitamins & supplements
  • Medications from businesses like clinics or group care facilities
    • Personal disposal only

For information on how to manage the items listed above, call the Marathon County Solid Waste Department at 1-877-270-3989 or visit


Can’t Make It to a Police Station for the April 27 Medication Take Back Event?

There are 8 permanent drop box locations at Police Departments throughout Marathon County:

  • Rothschild and Kronenwetter Police Departments drop boxes are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Everest Metro, Wausau, Colby–Abbotsford, Marathon City, Spencer, and Edgar ( ← NEW LOCATION!) Police Departments have drop boxes available Monday–Friday during regular lobby hours.

Additional medication drop boxes are available at Walgreens on Bridge Street in Wausau and at all 3 Marshfield Clinic Pharmacy locations.

Medication drop box available at Marshfield Clinic – Weston Center. (Photo courtesy of Sarah Thurs.)

Since January 2010, the Marathon County Drop Box Program has expanded from 3 permanent locations to 8 in early 2019 and the program has successfully collected an average of 1.75 tons of medication in Marathon County annually — for an estimated total of 15 tons (30,000 pounds) of medications since the program’s launch!

Why is holding “take back” events and having permanent medication drop boxes so important to Marathon County?

AOD Partnership MCAODPC Color 2013-07-12According to a recent report released on medication abuse by the Marathon County by the AOD Partnership:

  • An increasing number of residents know where the drop box locations are; therefore, they use them as their primary method of disposal.
  • Survey respondents believed that if someone is looking to abuse medications, he or she would either steal or be gifted them by a family member or friend, yet survey respondents were still likely to hold on to expired medications.

We invite you to watch the 15-second PSA below about the using our local drop boxes to help keep medications out of the hands of children and prevent medication abuse.

Please do your part to help prevent addiction or overdose by cleaning out any expired or unwanted prescriptions from your medicine cabinets on April 27 — Medication Take Back Day!

Melissa_MooreMelissa Moore

Substance Abuse Prevention | Marathon County Health Department

Melissa Moore has worked in Public Health for over 18 years, leading substance abuse prevention and coalition efforts in multiple diverse communities. Emphasizing the need to go beyond education to impact the external factors that contribute to substance abuse, Ms. Moore has helped lead assessment, planning, implementation, and grant-writing efforts to transform the culture and reduce this burden on the community. In her current position at the Marathon County Health Department, she continues to contribute to the growing reputation of the Marathon County Alcohol & Other Drug Partnership as a statewide leader in community coalition engagement.  Email Melissa Moore. 

Meleesa_JohnsonMeleesa Johnson

Director  |  Marathon County Solid Waste Department

Meleesa Johnson has been the Director of solid waste management for Marathon County since 2009. She oversees solid waste programming and facilities serving Central and North Central Wisconsin. Under her leadership, the Solid Waste Department transitioned from primarily a landfill business to a regional resource for residents, businesses, and local governments working on waste reduction and recycling programming as means of creating greater sustainability. Meleesa has been focused on environmental protection issues since starting college in 1996, eventually earning a B.S. in Environmental Policy and Planning. She is a Morris K. Udall Congressional Scholar for Excellence in National Environmental Policy and was recently named as UW–Green Bay’s Earth Caretaker. Meleesa’s passions are her children and grandchildren, as well as public service, serving as president of the Stevens Point Common Council and on the Portage County Board of Supervisors.  Email Meleesa Johnson.

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