Six locations across the State of Michigan participated in drug take-back events on May 20, 2017. The free, no questions asked chance to get rid of opioids and other unneeded medicines out of the house took place in Ann Arbor, Jackson, Saginaw, Traverse City, Escanaba, and Pontiac.
The results of the combined events were significant, bringing in close to 600 people dropping off 421 pounds of pills. The oldest pain medication returned was from 1976 and more than 15,000 opioids across all of the events were collected. The most common reason for people to have excess medications was from surgery.
The event aimed to reduce the number of houses that have opioid pain medications on hand, as well as other medicines that shouldn’t be kept around or dumped in the trash or down the toilet. Chad Brummett, M.D., a U-M pain researcher and Michigan Medicine anesthesiologist, said, “We were very proud to partner with others to make it easy for people to get these medications out of the house before they fall into the wrong hands or get into the natural environment. We can’t thank all of our partners enough, both healthcare and law enforcement, because without them these events would not have been possible.”
The take-back events were sponsored by local health organizations and Michigan Medicine's Department of Anesthesiology, and organized through a University of Michigan initiative funded by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services that aims to reduce opioids in the state through safer prescribing and increased opportunities to dispose of drugs properly.
Brummett co-leads the Michigan Opioid Prescribing Engagement Network (Michigan-OPEN), based at the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation. He and his colleagues work with physicians, mid-level providers, insurers, and policy makers across the state to reduce opioid prescribing while still ensuring patients’ access to pain control.