MICHR partners with local organization to encourage addiction prevention across the state and beyond

Many research strategies related to the opioid crisis focus on increasing access to effective treatments for opioid use disorders, but it’s also vital to prevent addiction before it starts. The Michigan Opioid Prescribing Engagement Network (Michigan OPEN), which aims to develop a preventive approach to the opioid epidemic, recently hosted a drug take back event that collected and disposed of one ton of pills, including 54,000 opioid pills.

Opioids are commonly prescribed for surgical care and recovery. However, a lack of guidelines on postoperative and acute care prescribing has contributed to a surplus of opioids within patients’ homes and communities, increasing the potential risk for nonmedical and unintended use. In fact, a recent study found most teens reporting use of prescription medications obtained them from friends or family members, with 20-25% taking them without permission

Michigan OPEN, founded in 2016, is combatting this risk is by hosting and encouraging drug take back events, increasing safe and convenient opportunities for people to dispose of their unused and leftover medications. These events allow communities to not only collect excess pills (reducing the risk for misuse), but also provide them with a unique opportunity to educate community members abou how to safely use, store and dispose of opioids.

For their recent take back event that pulled the one-ton haul, Michigan OPEN partnered with the Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research (MICHR) to help promote, organize and fund the event. Dr. George Mashour, executive director of MICHR, was the driving force behind the CTSA Program hub’s involvement. 

“There’s a critical gap in the opioid research landscape when it comes to prevention,” Mashour said. “For this reason, I resonated with Michigan OPEN’s mission and I was inspired by the first few events they put on. I knew our hub could bring unique expertise and support to help drive success, and ultimately make a difference for the people of Michigan.” 

But Michigan OPEN’s efforts don’t stop at state lines. The organization is willing to provide support to institutions across the country interested in hosting their own drug take back events. Their support comes in the form of free coaching calls, budgeting advice and an online event guide, complete with supply lists, promotion ideas, planning checklists and sample budgets.

“Partnering with MICHR worked so well because everyone involved had a passion for the cause and understood the importance of prevention,” said Dr. Chad Brummett, co-director of Michigan OPEN. “We would be thrilled to help other CTSA Program hubs set up their own take back events and see Michigan OPEN’s vision on a national scale.”

If you’re interested in learning more about Michigan OPEN and/or about hosting a drug take back event, visit http://michigan-open.org/.