GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Police departments across the nation will be collecting unused or expired drugs Saturday for Drug Take Back Day.
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., you can anonymously and safely drop off prescription and over-the-counter drugs at a collection site.
It’s part of an initiative from the Drug Enforcement Administration. The goal is to give the community a safe, convenient way to dispose of drugs, as well as to educate people about how medication can be abused.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 110,000 Americans died of drug poisonings and overdose in 2022, the DEA said in a release.
A drug take back day in April netted about 664,000 pounds of unused medications across the U.S.
You should not try to throw away old drugs in the trash or flush them down the toilet, Corewell Health reminded people in a release, saying that can pose a health or safety hazard.
“Last year, Michigan saw far too many avoidable opioid-related deaths,” Dr. Colleen Lane, medical director of addiction medicine at Corewell Health, said in a statement. “So many of these deaths were related to prescription medications. By dropping off unused medications, you are playing a critical role in keeping your family and community safe.”
Corewell is taking back drugs at five of its West Michigan locations, working with Grand Rapids police and the Kent County Sheriff’s Office to ensure they are disposed of properly.
Collection sites will accept any solid form of prescription drugs, liquids if they are tightly sealed in their original containers, and vaping devices if the lithium batteries are removed. They will not accept syringes, sharps or illicit drugs.
Many police departments and health departments will host events for Drug Take Back Day. You can find a collection site near you on the DEA’s website.
Several locations participating in drug take back day will also be distributing Narcan at no cost.
“We know that Narcan saves lives. We hope is that we’ll be able to reverse the opioid overdose when it’s happening and then patients can get help,” Ellen Waalkes, senior pharmacy specialist at Priority Health, said.
Sites offering the free Narcan include Priority Health Campus, the Kent County Health Department, Spectrum Health Medical Group South Pavillion, Spectrum Health Zeeland Hospital and Flat River Family Dentistry.
Meijer also has its own drug take-back program that’s always available. It has locked drop boxes at each in-store pharmacy where you can leave old drugs, no questions asked.