MARIETTA - Residents will have a chance to safely dispose of their unused prescription medication Saturday, when several organizations in Wood and Washington counties team up with the U.S. Drug Administration for National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.
There will be several locations where folks can drop off their prescription drugs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., including the Williamstown, Vienna, Lubeck, Waverly and Mineral Wells volunteer fire departments, Camden Clark Medical Center, Parkersburg Police Department at Station 5 and Parkersburg City Park in Wood County. In Washington County, sites include the Belpre Senior Center, White Oak Pharmacy in Barlow, the corner of Second and Putnam streets in Marietta, Fort Frye High School, the Devola Medical Center and the Buckeye Hills/Area Agency on Aging office in Reno.
Organizations holding the event are the Wood and Washington County Sheriff's Office, Memorial Health System, the Area Agency on Aging, the Right Path for Washington County and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program of Washington County.
Individuals can drop off medications at the Wood County Sheriff's Tax Office on Market Street, where children can have a KidPrint ID made for free.
Representatives will be at the drop-off locations, where people can hand over their medications without leaving their vehicles.
Sites in Washington County will accept needles and syringes, but Wood County sites will not due to the potential hazard posed by blood-borne pathogens.
"We'll take everything, no questions asked," said Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks. "We even have containers for needles."
Mincks said local organizations have taken part in the national day for at least four years. It is an event backed by the U.S. Department of Justice's Drug Enforcement Administration.
The event is held locally twice a year. In Washington County, around 150 pounds of medication are collected each time. In Wood County during October's take-back day, more than 600 pounds of over-the-counter and prescription medications were collected.
"We'll collect everything and the DEA will pick it up and they'll take it away and destroy it," Mincks said.
Mincks noted it is extremely important that people get rid of their unused prescription medication rather than leaving it sitting around in their homes.
"If you leave it in the medicine cabinet that's the No. 1 location teenagers are finding drugs...they're taking one, two or three pills out where it's not noticed," he said.
Simply flushing the drugs down the toilet or throwing them in the trash can aren't good ideas, either, according to organizers.
"Many people don't know how to dispose of medications properly and when you begin to flush them down the toilet or sink or don't dispose of them properly it can cause some environmental toxins and it's not the appropriate manner in which to dispose of them for safety reasons," said Jennifer Offenberger, director of marketing and public relations for the Memorial Health System.
If individuals are not able to attend drop-off day, they can still dispose of their medications safely throughout the year. In Washington County, people can drop them off anytime at the sheriff's office receptacle on Fourth Street in Marietta. In Wood County, individuals can call Capt. Mark King at 304-424-1834 to set up an appointment.
"It's not uncommon for us to get 50 pounds a week," said Mincks. "We find this especially useful if you have a loved one who passes away and they had a lot of medication."