The Washington County Sheriff's Office will hold its biannual drug take back program Sept. 29, as part of the national prescription drug take-back day sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Residents can use the opportunity to safely and legally dispose of any unwanted or expired medications.
"We would like to take prescriptions, but we take about everything, no questions asked," said Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks.
Liquid medications as well as used needles will be accepted, though participants are asked to notify staff if they are turning in a used needle. The Sheriff's Office wants to make sure no one is discouraged from properly disposing these drugs, said Mincks.
Properly disposing unused medications has many advantages, notably that it discourages those not prescribed to the medications from taking them illegally, Mincks said.
"The No. 1 location that kids are going to look is the medicine cabinet. If you keep them in your medicine cabinet, then you are giving them the opportunity to come in and take them," he said.
If you go
When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 29.
Where: Corner of Second and Putnam streets in Marietta, The Belpre Senior Center, Fort Frye High School, the Devola Medical Center, Buckeye Hills/Area Agency on Aging office in Reno, White Oak Pharmacy in Barlow.
Any medications, including liquids, and used needles, though the Washington County Sheriff's Office asks that you inform staff before handing in used needles.
Keeping pills that you no longer need also makes you a target for thieves, said Mincks.
"Prescription medication abuse is a growing problem," said Jennifer Offenberger, director of marketing and public relations for the Memorial Health System.
By keeping prescriptions after they are no longer needed, people increase the risk that someone will take and abuse them, said Offenberger.
According to research from the Ohio Department of Health, 96 percent of all unintentional poisoning deaths are due to drugs and medications.
In fact, in Ohio, more people die from unintentional poisoning than from motor vehicle accidents, Offenberger said.
She warned that people should not try to dispose of their drugs on their own.
"Disposing of it down the toilet puts medication into our water system which can be harmful to others," said Offenberger.
Drugs that are simply thrown away can eventually find their way into ground water as well as the river, warned Mincks.
Hospital staff members will also be on hand during the take-back day and will assist the Sheriff's Office in properly disposing of the drugs, said Offenberger.
During the last drug take-back day, they collected 265 pounds of medication. Between 300 to 500 people across the county participated, said Mincks.
Those wishing to dispose of drugs Sept. 29 can do so between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m on Saturday at five area locations, including the corner of Second and Putnam streets in Marietta; the Belpre Senior Center; Fort Frye High School in Beverly; the Devola Medical Center; the Buckeye Hills/Area Agency on Aging office in Reno; and the White Oak Pharmacy in Barlow.
For those who miss the event, the Sheriff's Office accepts unwanted medication every day of the year at their 309 Fourth St. location, said Mincks.