DPS participating in National Take Back efforts on Saturday

 

BIG RAPIDS — Local, state and federal officials will be collecting expired, unused and unwanted prescription medications on Saturday.

The Big Rapids Department of Public Safety, other local organizations and the Michigan State Police are joining together in an effort by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for the 16th 16th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, Oct. 27.

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A drop-off location will be available to residents from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at DPS, 435 N. Michigan Ave., on Saturday. MSP Posts throughout the state also will serve as drop-off areas.

“The whole purpose, with the dangers of prescription drug abuse in our state and country, is we don’t want those medications to be readily available or end up in our water system, especially wiith all the problems of antibiotics or opioids in our water system,” said Jim Eddinger, Big Rapids DPS director.

The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day Initiative addresses a critical public safety and public health issue, according to a release from the DEA. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. continue to be alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.

Because the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration have advised the public that flushing their prescription drugs down the toilet or throwing them in the trash pose potential safety and health hazards, DEA launched its prescription drug take back program to encourage the safe disposal of medications, the release said.

From time to time, Eddinger said his department receives complaints about prescription drugs being taken.

“We’ll have grandchildren visiting Nana and Papa, but when they leave, they raid the medicine cabinet,” he said. “The grandparents discover all the prescription drugs were taken.”

Medications collected locally are generally taken to Grand Rapids to be put in an incinerator, Eddinger said.

“We’ve worked through Ten16 Recovery Network and other organizations to help with shipping those or making an arrangement to get those medications disposed,” he said.

Eddinger said he isn’t shocked by how much old or unused medication is collected during these events.

“The amount we take back would surprise a lot of people,” he said. “We’re not the only agency doing this.”

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Posted by Brandon Fountain

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