By Jessica Mathews /

Events are being held across the state this weekend, including in Livingston County, to help dispose of expired medications and especially opioid painkillers.

This Saturday, Livingston County residents can get rid of unused and expired medications at various locations as part of the 21st National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. A number of local law enforcement agencies will serve as collection sites, along with municipal offices. All of the events will run from 10am to 2pm.

The local Big Red Barrel program offers free and anonymous disposal of unused medications and since its inception in 2011, 40,000 pounds of pills have been collected.

Genoa Township is among those participating in Saturday’s take-back event and the Big Red Barrel will be at the township hall off Dorr Road.

In January of 2019, Genoa Township collected 64 pounds of drugs. In April of that year, 86 pounds of pills and 90 pounds of sharps were collected – marking the township’s biggest collection ever. However, during the last collection on September 28th, only one pound of pills and 5 pounds of sharps were collected. Thus some questions were raised about whether it would be worth it to continue the events.

A presentation was made to the township board in early October about the program. Livingston County Undersheriff Jeff Warder reported that in 2020, there were 318 overdoses and 21 fatalities. As of this past August, there were 206 overdoses and 15 fatalities. Warder said the problem is getting worse and is very serious and encouraged continued township partnership in the program.

Supervisor Bill Rogers tells WHMI they’re going to look into different ways to try and boost collection participation and increase resident communication about upcoming events.

Rogers says the goal is to make it more efficient. He says they’re going to maybe try and tie it in with some other events where they’ll naturally have people at the township hall and maybe residents will be more inclined to bring something in if they’re already going to be there for something else like leaf pickup.

Details about all of Saturday’s prescription drug-take back events are available in the attached release and link.