WI P2D2 (WI Prescription Pill and Drug Disposal)

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The Problem

What would you do if you discovered that your drinking water contained antibiotics, heart medications, psychiatric drugs and hormones from birth control pills? This problem is very real and has been happening in lakes, rivers and waterways across America. I discovered that most people are unsure of how to dispose of their unwanted and expired medications. They usually resort to flushing them down the toilet or the sink or just leave them in their medicine cabinets. Each of these methods has devastating consequences. When medications are flushed down the toilet or poured down the sink, they contaminate our groundwater, causing problems for humans and aquatic animals. If drugs are thrown out in the trash, they are accessible to children and pets and the medications can still get into our groundwater.

Plan of Action

To start my drug program, I contacted the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency), the DNR (Department of Natural Resources) the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and the Department of Justice but none of these governmental agencies were willing to tackle this insidious problem or help me with my project. I decided that I would make a difference by conducting a drug collection in my hometown on my own. This was a monumental task as it is illegal to collect or accept prescription drugs from someone and the cost to dispose of these drugs is prohibitive. My specific goal with P2D2 is to educate the public about prescription and OTC drug abuse, provide a means to properly dispose of their unwanted drugs, and instruct the public about how to safely store the drugs they choose to keep in their homes. Spreading awareness by working with local youth, volunteers, law enforcement, local, state and national government, teachers, businesses and civic organizations is the only way to save our teens from prescription drug abuse. So far I have held multiple drug collection events, created 6 permanent drug collection programs, hosted a flu shot clinic, a free sharps disposal, a free mercury thermometer swap and have helped keep over 900,000 pounds of drugs out of the hands of young children and teens. I have also purchased several 24/7 drug drop off boxes for communities, engaged high school students to paint and decorate the containers, helped cities purchase incinerators to save on disposal costs, been the first teen in Wisconsin to win a state grant for drug collection/disposal, mentored teens and adults across the country with their programs, helped communities come together to eradicate a social problem from their streets, and have become a national spokesperson for teen activism. I have partnered with another program and P2D2 has spread across the country into over 22 states and we are working to pass P2D2 laws in each state (IL already has one on the books). Furthermore, I made this project self-sustainable, by securing permanent drop off boxes, drug incinerators and disposal for these hazardous materials. I have made WI P2D2 the first teen-created, self-sustainable, drug collection program in the world!

Project Updates

Wow, P2D2 is spreading like wildfire. I had a 2nd event on Global Youth Service Day, April 24, 2010 and collected over 370 pounds of drugs. I then had a county-wide event on June 12th and collected over 217 pounds of drugs.

P2D2 is now in over 15 states and is responsible for keeping over 150,000 pounds of drugs out of hands of abusers and out of the groundwater.

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