They’re hiding in the backs of medicine cabinets across Michigan: drugs that no one needs, and that could pose a risk to children, teens, adults and the environment.
A free event 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, will make it easy to get rid of them.
At 60 locations across the state that day, Michiganders can bring old, expired or just unneeded medicines to a convenient location to drop off, and drive away knowing they’ll be properly and safely destroyed.
OSF St. Francis Hospital in Escanaba is one of those drop-off sites, along with the Westwood Mall parking lot in Marquette, where the Upper Peninsula Health Plan will be collecting unwanted pills.
All of the Michigan State Police posts are also taking part as drop-off sites.
The statewide effort is made possible by local partnerships between hospitals, pharmacies, community organizations, police departments and the University of Michigan’s Michigan Opioid Prescribing Engagement Network (Michigan OPEN).
Michigan OPEN has created a free manual to help groups hold community opioid and medication takeback events, and provide a safe process for disposing of unused medications in order to protect communities, children and the environment.
Takeback events aim to reduce the number of homes that have opioid painkillers on hand, as well as other medicines that shouldn’t be kept around because of the risk of abuse—and shouldn’t be dumped in the trash or down the toilet either.
Also on Oct. 27, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s National Take Back Initiative includes take-back events at law enforcement locations around the country. Some law enforcement and pharmacy locations take unused medications back year-round.
Facts about prescription drug misuse:
70 percent of the opioids prescribed for surgery go unused, making them vulnerable to diversion and misuse.
Every 10 minutes a child visits the emergency room for medication poisoning.
Three in five teens say prescription pain medication is easy to get from their parents’ medicine cabinet
The Michigan State Police (MSP) is urging residents to discard expired, unused and unwanted pills during National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day this Saturday, one of two annual events held in partnership with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and other law enforcement agencies.
“Our troopers see daily the devastation caused by opioid and prescription drug abuse, accidental poisonings and overdoses,” said Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the Michigan State Police. “Please check your home and get rid of any medications you no longer need.”
MSP’s 30 posts will participate in the one-day ‘Take-Back’ effort from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27, by serving as drop-off points. All collected pills will be destroyed, with no questions asked. Liquids, inhalers, patches and syringes cannot be accepted.
The state is using every available tool to combat the opioid epidemic. State agencies are collaborating to advance Michigan’s efforts related to fight this crisis. Efforts include:
- Providing online resources for patients, health professionals and communities about prevention and treatment of opioid abuse.
- The Michigan Automated Prescription System provides real-time prescription data and resources to better assess a patient’s risk for substance use disorder.
- Michigan State Police posts serving as drug take-back sites and providing the Angel Program for individuals struggling with addiction.
- Many State of Michigan agencies, communities and businesses throughout the state help with proper drug disposal of unwanted medications; and
- Issuing a standing order in May 2017 to pre-authorize the distribution of naloxone by pharmacists to those at risk of an opioid-related overdose, as well as family members, friends and other persons who may be able to assist a person at risk of overdose. Naloxone is a fast-acting, potentially life-saving medication that reverses opioid overdose.
Opioid Addiction Awareness Week efforts can be followed on social media using the hashtag #MIOpioidsAwareness.
National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is held twice a year, in April and October. During the April 2018 effort, MSP posts collected roughly 966 pounds of prescription drugs.
Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. Further, disposing of unused medicines by flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash can pose safety and health hazards.
Anyone who is unable to participate on National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day can anonymously surrender their prescription drugs at any MSP post, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., excluding holidays.