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Michigan OPEN

Celebrating the Successful Fall 2022 Take Back Event

Jan 6, 2023

Take Back Events are organized twice a year by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) where community members can turn in unused medications they still have in their households. While these Take Back Events predate OPEN, the OPEN team saw these events as a great way to partner with community leaders and raise awareness to the opioid epidemic. “The biggest way to reduce exposure to opioids is to get them out of our communities and to make sure they are used responsibly and prescribed correctly” said Chelsea Graham, program coordinator at OPEN.

“Anyone can organize an event, anyone can volunteer at one,” said Graham, who organized the Fall 2022 Take Back Event. This year, OPEN partnered with 31 different collection sites across Michigan. “If an organization wants to partner with OPEN, we can help provide them with resources and a Take Back Event guide that walks through every step.”

While the final number is still being tallied, so far over 2,600 pounds of medication has been reported for the Fall 2022 event. “We’re always excited to see these large amounts of unused medications out of our communities,” said Dr. Chad Brummett, co-director of OPEN. “We hope those events continue to increase public awareness about the risks of keeping unused medications in your homes.”

As communities around Michigan prepare for the Spring 2023 Take Back Event, OPEN is excited to see how these events continue to develop in the future. “We want to see more communities get involved as these events grow, we hope these take back events become routine, we want them to become more accessible to everyone, especially to the communities that need them most” said Dr. Brummett. 

As these events continue to grow, Dr. Brummett has big hopes for where they can go. “We want to increase recognition of Medication Take Back events and our ultimate goal is make disposal an everyday activity, not just a biannual event.”

The OPEN team is excited about the response the Fall event had and is proud of the work our partners put into this event. “It really puts into perspective what we do and what the team at OPEN can accomplish,” said Graham. “I’m proud of how our sites come together to organize these events and work together to keep our communities safe.”

Since OPEN began organizing Take Back Events in 2017, they have worked with over 100 sites in 47 Michigan counties over 8 different events. Over 410,000 opioid pills and 23,000 pounds of medications have been removed from communities, and 2,700 Deterra disposal bags have been distributed at these events.

The date for the Spring 2023 Take Event Day Event will be announced to the public soon. 

For more information on Take Back Events or to sign up to lead a collection site, click here.