GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Saturday is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, and a slew of local organizations are holding events to collect old or unused medication.
If you have old drugs in your medicine cabinet, you can drop them off for safe disposal at a number of local governments, hospitals and police agencies. Official take back day hours are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
>>Online: Find a Take Back location
The U.S Drug Enforcement Administration holds a take back day each year to get unused prescription medications out of homes so they can’t contribute to abuse. The nation’s opioid epidemic has been fueled by increased use of powerful painkillers, which can lead to the abuse of illegal drugs like heroin.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there were 47,600 fatal opioid overdoses nationwide in 2017, the most recent year for which data is available. Nearly 2,700 of those deaths were in Michigan, an increase of about 14% over the previous year. The CDC classifies that uptick as “statistically significant.”
Earlier this year, Meijer installed prescription drug take back boxes at its 241 superstores in the Midwest. In only eight weeks, the company said, it collected some four tons of medications. You can drop off your old or unused medications at the nearest Meijer pharmacy year-round during regular business hours.
Like Meijer, many organizations will take back unused or expired drugs anytime of the year. You can look for drop-off locations on the website for West Michigan Take Back Meds or by contacting your county health department.