The Spring Take Back Event!

The Michigan OPEN 2018 Spring Take Back Event day was held Saturday, April 28, 2018. Michigan OPEN and partners in 27 locations brought in our largest haul yet in our Spring Take Back Event—over one ton of unused medications. The Spring 2018 event tripled the amount of Take Back locations from the Fall 2017 event and tripled the amount of opioids removed from Michigan communities.The collective effort resulted in hundreds of families safely removing a total of 2000+ pounds of medication, including approximately 54,000 opioids from their homes while also increasing awareness in the community about safe medication disposal. When Take Back Event participants were asked how they disposed of medications prior to coming to the event, more than 50% answered, “did not dispose,” highlighting the need for these community events.

To find the Michigan OPEN Medication Take Back Event that was hosted in your community, follow the link below. Don’t see a location near you? Contact us at to find out how to bring a Michigan OPEN take back event to your community!

Spring 2018 Take Back Event Locations

Michigan OPEN is already beginning to plan for our Fall 2018 event. Details coming soon.

About our opioid take back events

Community opioid and medication take-back events provide a safe process for disposing of unused medications while protecting our communities, children and environment. Our most recent drive in September 2017 was held in Ann Arbor, Commerce, Escanaba, Jackson, Livonia, Pontiac, Saginaw, and Traverse City. The collective effort of the September drive resulted in 766 families safely removing a total of 900 pounds of medication, including approximately 17,500 opioids from their homes, while also increasing awareness in the community about safe medication disposal.

Why host a medication take back event?

The United States is currently experiencing an epidemic of prescription drug misuse and abuse. 12.5 million people age 12 and older misused opioids (pain medications) in the past year. Since 1999, overdose deaths involving prescription opioids have quadrupled. Every day, 115 Americans die from an opioid-related overdose – that is more than the number of people killed in car accidents or by guns.

Opioids relieve pain by affecting how your brain and central nervous system process painful stimuli and are often prescribed during episodes of acute pain, such as after surgery, trauma, or dental procedure. However, a recent study found that approximately 70% of the opioids prescribed for surgery go unused, making them vulnerable to diversion and misuse.

To turn the tide on the opioid epidemic, we need to prevent opioid abuse before it starts. Increasing safe and convenient opportunities for community members to dispose of their unused and leftover medications is essential. A recent study found most of the teens reporting use of prescription medications obtained them from friends or family members, with one-fifth to one-quarter reporting taking them without permission. Leftover opioids also pose a poison risk to young children. Every 10 minutes a child visits the emergency room for medication poisoning.

What is required to host a medication take back event?

A take back event requires a law enforcement partner, a location, volunteers, and a collection receptacle for the pills. Opioids are controlled substances regulated by the Drug Enforcement Administration. An armed law enforcement officer must be present at all times and maintain custody of the collected medications. The Michigan OPEN Medication Take Back Event Guide can assist you with planning and management of your take back event.

What are existing methods for disposing of opioids?

Approved opioid collectors, primarily pharmacies and law enforcement agencies, and special take-back events are the safest and most environmentally-friendly means of disposing unneeded medications. If these options are not available, recommendations are to remove pills from their container and throw them away in household trash with an unpalatable substance or flush them down the toilet. Unfortunately, flushing medications leads to pharmaceuticals being discharged into our surface and ground water. Managing unused, unwanted and expired medications is a safety as well as an environmental concern. Safety and accidental poisoning concerns for smaller children and family pets are on the rise, however, headlines across the nation are focusing on two distinct areas of concern: the contamination of drinking water supplies with pharmaceuticals, and the rise of teen abuse of prescription medications.

For more information, please see our page on Safe Drug Disposal.


Take Back Event Updates