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Drop off excess prescription drugs this Saturday

Metro Detroit groups urge proper disposal of drugs

The goal is to help curb opioid abuse by keeping surplus prescription drugs off the streets. (WDIV)
The goal is to help curb opioid abuse by keeping surplus prescription drugs off the streets. (WDIV)

DETROIT – A group of local health organizations is urging Detroiters to participate in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. The goal is to help curb opioid abuse by keeping surplus prescription drugs off the streets.

The national event is sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration. On Thursday, representatives from Delta Dental of Michigan, the Detroit Health Department, the Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority, the Greater Detroit Area Health Council and Youth Connection met to encourage residents to participate.

"It is so important that everyone knows how to appropriately dispose of their prescription medications, and Prescription Drug Take Back Day is a critical part of that effort,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, director and health officer for the Detroit Health Department. "We want these medications appropriately disposed of, so they are not polluting our landfills or water systems, or lying around the house at risk of being inappropriately used or harming children."

While the number of opioid prescriptions nationally has been declining, a recent analysis of claims data of 1,000 insured dental patients, published by the American Dental Association, shows that dentists have written more prescriptions for opioids since 2010. Experts say that's especially concerning because dentists are the medical professionals most likely to prescribe opioids to 11- to 18-year-olds.

“Dentists are dedicated to being part of the solution,” said Dr. Jeff Johnston, chief science officer and vice president at Delta Dental of Michigan. “We believe in empowering patients and identifying the best approaches for effective pain treatment.”

Delta Dental is also funding 600 Deterra drug disposal bags, which will be available at drop-off sites across the city Saturday. When drugs are combined with warm water inside the bags, the drugs are deactivated and dissolved, so they can’t be misused and are safe to throw out.

The DWMHA has placed 28 red drug take-back boxes in Wayne County community police stations and community service sites.

Additional drop-off sites can be found by ZIP code by clicking here.