GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — For the 23rd consecutive year, the Drug Enforcement Administration is holding its annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, Oct. 29.
The DEA and local police agencies will be working together, hosting more than 4,000 drop-off locations to let people anonymously dispose of any unneeded medications to keep them out of the hands of children or people who could abuse them.
A report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that a majority of people who misuse prescription medication get it from a friend or a family member.
“Working to keep the public safe is a top priority for my office, and unneeded prescriptions laying around a house present an opportunity and a danger to teens and others interested in experimenting with drugs,” Mark Totten, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Michigan, said in a release. “Drug Take Back Day is an important preventative measure in the United States’ efforts to combat drug abuse and the opioid crisis.”
Deputy Eric Brunner, with the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, said that a Kent County Medical Examiner’s report shows from 2016 to 2020, the top age group for drug deaths was 21 to 44 years old, most of those being men. The most common drug death in that age group was from narcotic analgesic, or opiods — what Brunner calls “a very strong pain medication.”
“So that huge jump in causes of death for drug use is in those strong pain killers, those narcotics. So that’s why we want to see more of those drugs and medications taken off of the streets and turned in when they’re not needed,” Brunner said.
Drop-off sites can collect tablets, capsules, patches and other forms of prescription drugs. They cannot accept syringes, sharps or illicit drugs. Liquid products must remain sealed in their original container. Vaping devices can also be turned in, but the lithium batteries must be removed.
You can find a collection site near you through the DEA website. All sites are scheduled to be open from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.