Unused drugs cluttering your medicine cabinet? Get rid of them safely at statewide takeback event Oct. 27

October 23, 2018
Contact: Kara Gavin kegavin@umich.edu

ANN ARBOR—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.

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.