Hospital systems hosting drug take-back sites

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Two local hospital systems are holding separate drug take-back events to encourage the community to dispose of unwanted medications.

Spectrum Health Healthier Communities, Priority Health and Families Against Narcotics Grand Rapids Chapter have teamed up once again to collect unused and unwanted prescription drugs from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at Spectrum Health Healthier Communities (Widdicomb Building), 665 Seward Ave. NW, and Spectrum Health Medical Group South Pavilion, 80 68th Street SE, both in Grand Rapids.

The same day, the city of Wyoming and Metro Health-University of Michigan Health will help households across their community dispose of prescription and over-the-counter medications safely and properly.

This free and anonymous public service is part of the 20th annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

“Spectrum Health is committed to fighting the opioid crisis, thus our efforts to plan additional take-back sites are vital. This effort removes unneeded medications making our communities safer,” said Natalia Szczygiel, MHSA, director of operations at Spectrum Health. “We encourage community members to help in this effort by dropping off medications with COVID-19 precautions in place.”

The Grand Rapids Police Department will oversee the collection site and ensure the drugs are disposed of appropriately. The DEA advises the public not to flush medications down the toilet or throw them in the trash because doing so poses potential safety and health hazards.

Locations sponsored or co-sponsored by Spectrum Health are listed below. Unless otherwise indicated, the drop-off site will be open from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday:

  • Spectrum Health Healthier Communities, Widdicomb Building, 665 Seward Ave. NW, Grand Rapids
  • Spectrum Health Medical Group South Pavilion, 80 68th Street SE, Grand Rapids
  • Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital, 605 Oak St., Big Rapids
  • Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital, 300 N. Patterson Rd., Reed City
  • Spectrum Health Kelsey Hospital, 418 Washington Ave., Lakeview
  • Zeeland Community Hospital, 8333 Felch St., Zeeland

The city of Wyoming and Metro Health will provide two drive-thru drop-off sites for community members to bring unwanted prescriptions and over-the-counter medications from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday. The drop-off locations are Metro Health Hospital, 2122 Health Drive SW, and Wyoming Department of Public Safety, 2300 DeHoop Ave. SW. Staff will be on hand to anonymously accept medications, including controlled substances, with no questions asked.

This past October, the Drug Take Back Day event collected 240 pounds of unwanted prescriptions and over-the-counter medications that were incinerated at Kent County’s Waste to Energy Facility. At the Spectrum Health Seward Avenue location, 192 pounds were collected and 36 doses of Narcan were provided.

“The Drug Take Back Day event is near and dear to my heart,” Wyoming Mayor Jack Poll said. “During my career as a pharmacist, I saw the heartbreak that can occur when medication gets into the wrong hands. I encourage everyone to go through their medicine cabinets and bring any unwanted or expired medication to this event.”

There are four year-round SafeMeds drop-off sites in Wyoming, including the department of public safety facility. Community members can drop off prescription and over-the-counter medications from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 2300 DeHoop Ave. SW.

“I would encourage everyone to take a few minutes to clean out your medicine cabinets and bring your unneeded prescription drugs to be disposed of safely,” said Pete Haverkamp, director of pharmacy, Metro Health-University of Michigan Health. “Something this simple can make our homes and community safer and help fight the opioid epidemic.”

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