OPEN Sees Big Successes at the Fall 2023 Take Back Event
The Overdose Prevention Engagement Network (OPEN) has been collaborating with communities and helping organize Take Back Events since 2019. With nearly 5 years of Take Back Events under our belt, this most recent event, which was held on October 28th, has been one of our most successful yet, setting multiple milestone achievements.
“In Fall 2023, we distributed the most safe disposal products of any Take Back Event that was supported by OPEN. This event collected the second most medications of all OPEN-supported events; this event collected the most pounds per site of any OPEN-supported event, displaying growing efficiency among our take back event partners,” shared Chelsea Graham, a Program Specialist at OPEN.
OPEN supported 15 sites that spanned 13 cities and 10 different Michigan counties. Over 3,600 pounds of medications and sharps were collected, and over 7,500 disposal items were distributed within the community. Graham stated “Even though opioid prescribing has decreased, we continue to see medications returned at Take Back Events. These recent achievements mean we can continue to organize and support Take Back Events with confidence that there is still a significant need to remove unwanted/unneeded medications from communities across the state.”
The next Take Back Event will take place in the spring, with the official day still to be determined by the DEA. “Take Back Events are important opportunities for community members to dispose of any unused or expired medications… While there are several different ways to dispose of medications, take back events offer unique benefits like connecting with organizations within the community, educating community members on safe medication disposal, and distributing naloxone to community members.”
OPEN team members are excited to see communities come together during Take Back Events and support their communities. Going forward, OPEN looks forward to working with more community organizations and connecting with even more community members. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Take Back Events have been an essential part of public health, and OPEN is excited to continue supporting safe communities in the future. An additional Take Back Event is currently being planned for February 2024 in Petoskey, with details available soon.
To learn about how you can get involved with OPEN for the next Take Back Event, visit our program page.