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Statewide Drug Take Back Event Nets 900 Pounds of Opioids & More

Michiganders from eight communities had a chance to drop unneeded medications off for free on September 30, as part of the largest drug take-back event ever spearheaded by the Michigan-OPEN initiative based at IHPI.

The event, which included partners from healthcare and law enforcement in Ann Arbor, Commerce, Escanaba, Jackson, Livonia, Pontiac, Saginaw, and Traverse City, attracted 766 people, who left behind 900 pounds of medication that they no longer wanted in their homes.

More than 17,500 of the 130,000 pills collected were opioid pain medications, which are the key target of the Michigan-OPEN effort because of their potential for abuse by those who have been prescribed them, or others. But the drive also brought in about an equal number of benzodiazepine and sedative pills, which carry their own risks of diversion and dependence, 10,000 antidepressants and 1,800 stimulants.

The drive once again showed that people tend to receive their opioids after surgery, and to hold on to them for years afterward. The oldest opioid pill collected was from 1984, nearly as old as the oldest one ever brought to a Michigan-OPEN event.