National prescription drug takeback day on Saturday

Posted at 6:55 PM, Oct 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-21 18:55:21-04

"We have an opioid epidemic in this country," says Linda Vail, the Ingham county health officer. "That is not just heroin. It's prescription opioids, narcotics, oxycontin, vicodin, those kinds of drugs."

And many people don't know what to do with precriptions they don't need anymore. Since they aren't supposed to be thrown away, the pills are usually left in the house unused.

Vail explains: "a lot of times it starts with a prescription or access to a prescription and experimentation in a family or friends' medicine cabinet."

That can lead to addiction, which can lead to more drug use.

"People who are addicted to pain pills often transition into heroin," states Vail, "so prevention of that in the first place is very key and preventing the use of prescription narcotics is key to that."

That's why the Drug Enforcement Agency is partnering with state police across the country to collect pills on Saturday.

"The 30 state police posts throughout the sate are participating in national drug takeback initiative and these posts will have their doors open and ready to collect those prescription pills that the community wants to drop off," says MSP Sgt. Greg Jones of the Jackson post.

When MSP participated in April, tons of people dropped off their unused prescription drugs in a safe manner.

"In Michigan alone there was over 14,000 pounds of pills taken and we alone took over 1,000 pounds of those prescription medications," explains Sgt. Jones.

MSP believes drug takeback days make huge strides to stop those overdoses, and to slow the opioid epidemic.

"It's always a win," claims Sgt. Jones. "If we can get these drugs properly disposed of and out of the hands of people who may use them illicitly or by accident it's always a win. Our whole goal is to stop drug overdoses."