GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Twice a year, law enforcement and health systems across the U.S. host National Drug Take Back Day.
It gives the public a chance to dispose of unused or expired medication before it winds up in the wrong hands. The next take back day is happening Saturday.
Last April, over 300 pounds of drugs were collected just at Priority Health’s three sites, according to Priority Health pharmacy specialist Ellen Waalkes.
“What’s so important about it is to remove the opioids from the home so that we can prevent accidental overdoses and also misuse, so that the opioids don’t get into the wrong hands.”
The Grand Rapids Police Department and Kent County Sheriff will oversee local collection sites to make sure drugs are disposed of appropriately. Both prescription and non-prescription drugs will be accepted and there is no paperwork that needs to be filled out to drop off drugs.
“It’s completely anonymous, we don’t ask for anyone’s name, they don’t have to bring in their ID,” said Waalkes.
Narcan, an over-the-counter opioid reversal agent, will also be distributed for free at Priority Health drop-off locations.
Not only are drug takebacks important as a preventative health measure, but to protect the environment as well, Waalkes said.
“What we want to do is make sure that they’re disposed of safely so that they don’t go in the landfill. We don’t want them in our water, we don’t want them flushed down the toilet,” she said.
Corewell Health is sponsoring the following drop-off sites in West Michigan. They are open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. unless otherwise noted:
- Spectrum Health South Pavilion, 80 68th Street SE, Grand Rapids
- Priority Health Corporate Office, 3111 Leonard Street NE, Grand Rapids
- Kent County Health Department, 700 Fuller Ave NE, Grand Rapids
- Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital, 605 Oak Street, Big Rapids (10-noon)
- Spectrum Health Pennock, Walgreens, 126 N Broadway, Hastings
- Spectrum Health Zeeland Hospital, 8333 Felch St., Zeeland
- Spectrum Health Ludington, Mason County Fairgrounds, 5302 US-10, Ludington (9-noon)
- Corewell Health St. Joseph Hospital, 1234 Napier Ave., St. Joseph
- Corewell Health Niles Hospital, Lakeland Medical Suites, 42 N St. Joseph Ave, Niles
Other drop-off locations can be found on the Drug Enforcement Administration website.