ANN ARBOR, Mich. — 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 on September 30 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. will make it easy to get rid of them.
At eight 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.
The event aims 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.
The take-back events are sponsored by local health organizations and the University of Michigan, and organized through a U-M initiative that aims to reduce opioids in the state through safer prescribing and increased safe disposal opportunities.
The events will be held at:
Pioneer High School Parking Lot, 601 W Stadium Blvd.
Run by the U-M Department of Anesthesiology and the Ann Arbor Police
Fire Department #2, 9170 Commerce Rd.
Run by the Commerce Township Fire Department and the Oakland County Sheriff
Walgreens, 2301 Ludington Street
Run by OSF HealthCare St. Francis Hospital & Medical Group and Walgreens
Center for Family Health, 505 North Jackson St.
Run by the Center for Family Health and the Jackson City Police
New Oakland Family Center, 31500 Schoolcraft Road
Run by New Oakland Family Center and Wayne County Sheriff
St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital, 44405 Woodward Ave.
Run by St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital and the Oakland County Sheriff
Covenant Healthcare Professionals Building, 800 Cooper Ave.
Run by Covenant HealthCare and the Saginaw Police
Munson Community Health Center, 550 Munson Ave.
Run by Munson Medical Center and Traverse City Police
Each site will accept prescription and over the counter pills, capsules and patches for humans and pets. Sites won’t accept liquid medications, EpiPens, creams or gels, needles or syringes or lancets, thermometers, IV bags, sprays, vials, inhalers or powders.
For the most up-to-date information on times and locations, please check www.michigan-open.org
“We know that many people who have a tooth pulled, an operation, or an injury, are prescribed medications that contain morphine, codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone or other opioids that can be misused or lead to addiction,” says Chad Brummett, M.D., a U-M pain researcher and Michigan Medicine anesthesiologist. “We’re proud to partner with others around our state to make it easy to get them out of the house before they fall into the wrong hands or get into the natural environment.”
Brummett co-leads the Michigan Opioid Prescribing and Engagement Network (Michigan OPEN), based at the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation and funded in part by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the U-M’s Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research.
He and his colleagues work with health teams across the state to reduce opioid prescribing while still ensuring patients’ access to pain control. They’re also aiming to increase awareness of the importance of safe medication disposal.
The team has created an online map of other places across Michigan that take medications back; most are at law enforcement agencies. It’s available at http://michigan-open.org/takebackmap. The team recommends calling to confirm a site’s hours of operation and continued participation in medication disposal.
The Michigan OPEN team has also published a guide for any community organization interested in hosting a drug take-back event, at http://michmed.org/eKPzD.
For more information, visit www.michigan-open.org or contact Michigan-OPEN at MichiganOPEN@umich.edu .
More about prescription drug risks:
Safely disposing of medication protects communities, children, and the environment. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that prescription and over-the-counter drugs are the most commonly abused substances in America after marijuana and alcohol.
Teen and young adults are especially at risk. According to the Monitoring the Future Survey conducted by the University of Michigan on behalf of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, most of the teens who say they misuse prescription medications got them from friends or family members, with one-fifth to one-quarter reporting taking them without permission.
The American Association of Poison Control Centers reports that more than 40 percent of poison exposures involve medications and pharmaceuticals.
Flushing medications down the drain or toilet, or sending them to a landfill, can protect against misuse, but can contaminate lakes, rivers, groundwater and the public drinking water supply.