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Big Red Barrel program secures 78th location

The Livingston County Community Alliance (LCCA) announced Tuesday that it has now placed 78 Big Red Barrels in various locations in Michigan to collect unused medications.

LCCA officials say the importance of doing that is seen in studies that show flushing medications down the toilet or disposing of them in the trash has an effect on ground water, with some municipalities charging more to filter these substances out of the water.

“Most important, we must get the unused medications out of the house before they get into the wrong hands “ stated a press release. “Here at the LCCA, we believe that prescription painkillers can be the gateway to heroin. In Livingston County in 2019 there were 52 overdoses from opioids, in 2020 there were 318.”

The Big Red Barrel project originated in Livingston County over 11 years ago during a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) “Take Back Day”.

Joe Carney and Terry Murray (pictured) asked each other, “Why do they; the DEA,  only take back unused medications twice per year? Why can’t it be done every day?”

They took their idea to Livingston County Sheriff Mike Murphy, who at the time was the Undersheriff, who said that if they collect the unused medications, he would dispose of them.

“Joe and Terry went to work, designed a barrel that is secure and tamper proof,” said the release. “They wanted to make the program as convenient as possible. In Livingston County all police stations have a Big Red Barrel. Every Michigan State Police Post has a Big Red Barrel. Numerous municipalities through out the state have a barrel.”

A barrel is at Recycle Livingston the first Saturday of each month as well as other community events during the year.

When medications are dropped off, there is no cost and no questions. All that is asked is that

the pills are put in a zip lock bag (pills can be mixed). If liquid medication, put enough paper towels in the zip lock to soak up the liquid. Do not mix liquids.

“Here at the LCCA, we are proud to say we are doing our part to reduce and prevent youth substance abuse and to promote a healthy and drug-free lifestyle,” said the release. “Since the program originated, we have safely disposed of over 50,000 pounds of unused medications here in Michigan. They go to a licensed incinerator.”

For more information or if you would like to get involved with the LCCA, please go to their website www.drugfreelivingston.com. You will see a complete list of all the Big Red Barrel locations on the website.

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