By Jim Newell
OAKLAND COUNTY — The North Oakland Community Coalition is partnering with local law enforcement for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, an effort everyone involved hopes will keep prescription drugs out of the hands of those who don’t need them.
From 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturday, the NOCC and a team of volunteers will be at the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office Orion Township Substation and the Lake Orion Police Department encouraging residents to properly dispose of expired or unused prescription medication.
Oxford residents can also drop off medication at the Oxford Police Department, 22 W. Burdick St.
“This is a national event. The first one took place on Sept. 25, 2010 in an effort to really get a handle on, at that time, the growing opioid crisis happening in our country,” said Tonya Hamilton, executive director of the North Oakland Community Coalition. “It’s just an effort to educate communities about the importance of cleaning out home medicine cabinets and proper use and disposal of prescription of drugs.”
Items eligible for drop off are all prescribed medications, narcotics, pills and capsules, medication samples and pet medications. Be sure to remove all medication for the original containers and place them in an unmarked zip-lock bag.
Items that will not be accepted include sharp objects, liquids and I.V. medication, inhalers, personal care products, aerosol cans and thermometers.
“The disposal bins currently allow any medication in the form of a pill, including gel capsule pills, as well as patches. We cannot accept any kind of needle, sharps, injectable devices, liquids, or inhalers in the boxes,” said Sam Anker, communications coordinator for the NOCC.
To properly dispose of pills, people should remove them from their original packaging and place them in a Ziplock bag, Hamilton says. “So, the only thing you’re putting in that disposal box is the Ziplock bag with pills. Take the prescription medication bottle home, remove the label, and throw it away.”
“Studies show us that a lot of our teens, a lot of our youth, get access to opioids and other prescription medication from medicine cabinets of their homes, their friends’ homes, their grandparents’ homes. We never know who might be visiting us and using the restrooms,” Hamilton said.
• One in three teens in the U.S. report having misused prescription drugs to get high, according to information from the NOCC.
• More than 60 percent of teens say prescription drugs are easy to get from home medicine cabinets.
Properly disposing of prescription medications also keeps those chemicals out of the water supply, so don’t just throw away medicine or flush them down the drain or toilet, Hamilton says.
The OCSO Orion Township Substation, 2323 Joslyn Rd., and the LOPD, 21 E. Church St., have disposal boxes in their lobbies all year so that anyone can drop off expired or unused prescription medications anytime the offices are open.
For more information and to find other collection sites, visit www.DEATakeBack.com.
Established in 2007, NOCC mission is to provide critical education and programs related to underage drinking, youth substance abuse and mental health to encourage a responsible community where healthy decision making is valued and where individuals and families thrive.
For more information, visit noccmi.org, or email email@example.com.
By Jim Newell