Schuette Encourages Michigan Residents to Take Advantage of Drug Take Back Day

Contact: Andrea Bitely, Megan Hawthorne; 517-373-8060

October 26, 2018

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is encouraging all Michigan communities to participate in National Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, October 27, 2018.

Both the state and national drug take back initiatives are dedicated to the proper and safe disposal of potentially dangerous, expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.

“Whether your unwanted prescription medication is lost, stolen, or misplaced, don’t be the dealer,” said Schuette. “My department encourages you to take back your unused medications today and help combat the opioid epidemic.”

In Michigan, residents can anonymously dispose of their prescription drugs at any MSP post year round, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., excluding holidays.

NATIONAL DRUG TAKE BACK DAY

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is held twice a year. During the one-day effort in April, MSP posts collected 597 pounds of prescription drugs.

Participating locations will be open on Saturday October 27, 2017 from 10:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. This service is free and anonymous – no questions asked.

All 30 MSP posts will participate in the ‘Take-Back’ initiative by serving as drop-off locations for residents to discard of their unused and unwanted prescription pills. 

Disposal sites can only collect pills and/or patches, no liquids, needles or sharps will be accepted. Drug Take Back Days are the safest way to dispose of medications. Unconventional methods of disposal, flushing medication down the drain, or throwing medication in the trash, have been known to damage the environment.

DETAILS ABOUT THE OPIOID TRAFFICKING AND INTERDICTION UNIT

Created in May 2017, the Opioid Trafficking and Interdiction Unit which is part of Schuette’s Criminal Division, is comprised of four assistant attorneys general, each with extensive backgrounds in drug crime prosecution.

The cases have been and will continue to be charged in cooperation with local law enforcement, Michigan State Police narcotics teams and federal agencies.

The unit will also continue to take on felony murder cases in which it is alleged that the delivery of opioids has caused death.

As of August 2018, the unit has investigated and prosecuted cases from 24 Michigan Counties. The unit has received 74 cases from local law enforcement agencies and the Michigan State Police. Nineteen of those cases has resulted in a conviction. Seventeen cases have charges pending and 24 are still under investigation. Three of the convictions have been for delivery of opioids causing death.

MICHIGAN’S OPIOID EPIDEMIC

According to the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose that includes prescription opioids and heroin. Each day, more than 1,000 people are treated in emergency departments for misusing prescription opioids. Prescription opioids are a driving factor in the almost 15-year increase in opioid overdose deaths. Deaths from prescription opioids – drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone – have more than quadrupled since 1999.

In Michigan, from 1999 to 2016 the number of overdose deaths from any type of opioid grew by more than 17 times. Now with the development of synthetic opioids such as fentanyl and carfentanil, opioid use is even more dangerous. The CDC reports Michigan having a prescription rate of 84.9 prescriptions per 100 residents, one of the highest in the country. Prescribing rates for opioids vary across state lines, but in 2016 the overall national average was 66.5 prescriptions per 100 people. Michigan is amid an opioid epidemic.

EDUCATION AND AWARENESS FROM SETTLEMENT

In May 2017, Schuette urged the Michigan Legislature to direct nearly $1 million from a settlement he negotiated with a pharmaceutical company towards opioid education and addiction prevention programs.

In a letter to Michigan’s legislative leadership, Schuette explained that with an average of five residents dying every day from opioid overdoses, our state has been identified by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control as one of 19 states with a statistically significant increase in opioid-related deaths.

Schuette proposed that the legislature seriously consider using the $859,000 in settlement funds arriving next month in the state’s General Fund to create effective state and/or local opioid prevention programs.

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