State Police urging people to surrender drugs on National Take Back Day

This Saturday is National Drug Take Back day, which gives people an opportunity to safely dispose of their prescription medications.

The Michigan Pharmacists Association says that Michigan ranks third in the country when it comes to use of the opioid hydrocodone, also known as Vicodin.

With prescription addictions on the rise, police say taking drugs off the street saves lives.

"Its kind of taking away the temptation for people to abuse prescription pills at their house," Michigan State Police Trooper Jacob Farichild said.

Twice a year the DEA teams up with state police to get prescription drugs out of medicine cabinets and the wrong hands. Last year, more than 900,000 pounds of drugs were collected nationally, with more than 20,000 pounds coming from Michigan according to Michigan State Police.

"Our state has about 10 million people, we're number three in the country. So there's a lot of medication that is used in our state," CEO of Michigan Pharmacists Association Larry Wagenknecht said.

Of the opioid deaths that have happened, 75 percent of them are because of someone stealing medicine, buying them, or being given them. In Michigan in 2015, over 1,200 people died of an opioid overdose, this was more than gun deaths and car crashes. This is partially because they are around and so easy to grab in people's own homes.

"A lot of people are getting medications out of medicine cabinets and using them for their own use. It was not intended when the prescriber prescribed it for the wisdom teeth, the sprained ankle or whatever the situation it might be," Wagenknecht said.

"People who are abusing prescription pills are more often getting them from their house, their bathroom, or their medicine cabinet," Fairchild said.

Along with being safer and potentially life-saving, the program is also better for the environment and keeps our waters clean.

"The take back, they are actually destroyed and they don't get into our water systems which is one of the concerns that is out there," Wagenknecht said.

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