An ongoing effort to both protect the environment and rid medicine cabinets of potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals, particularly controlled substances, will be the focus of "National Prescription Drug Take Back Day" from 9 a.m to noon Saturday, Sept. 29, at the Violet Township Service Center, 490 N. Center St. in Pickerington, which is at the intersection of Center Street and Stemen Road.
The Fairfield Soil and Water Conservation District, in cooperation with Violet Township, the Fairfield County Sheriff's Office, and Lancaster-Fairfield County Recycling and Litter Prevention, are the participating agencies for the event.
For Joy Davis, economic development specialist for Violet Township, the event is an opportunity to prevent unused or expired medications from being flushed down a toilet or sink or discarded in landfills, all of which lead to the potential contamination of groundwater and/or wastewater treatment plants, causing harm to aquatic life and the human water supply.
Davis said the program also serves to keep drugs out of the hands of people susceptible to substance abuse.
"Our community has once again stepped up and taken a pro-active approach toward protecting the environment," Davis said.
"The event is important because it provides a way to dispose of materials that would negatively impact the environment if flushed down the toilet or allowed to be sent to the landfill without first removing certain components.
"In addition, we obviously don't want prescription drugs lying around the house where a teenager can find them."
She said protocol dictates that there are no questions asked when people show up to discard their unwanted drugs.
"You hand the drugs over, they drop (them) in a box, and it's 'thanks, have a nice day.' "
Prescription pills, capsules, liquids, creams, gels, ointments, patches, suppositories, powders, syringes and IV's will be collected.
No aerosols or inhalers will be accepted.
Organizers are asking participants to black out the name or remove the label prior to bringing containers to the disposal site.
She said people can call the Fairfield SWCD office at 740-653-8154 with any questions regarding the prescription drug collection event.
Davis said the event is also accepting electronics, and the following may be dropped off at no cost: computers, laptops, printers, cables, mouses, keyboards, discs, electronic clocks, VCR and DVD machines, radios, and cell phones.
Computer monitors will be accepted at no additional cost if they are included as part of an entire computer system, however, there is a $3 disposal fee for computer monitors that are brought in without a processor or tower.
Davis said that still is a good deal considering monitors are difficult to discard.
"When you stop and think about it, a lot of the trash (operators) won't take them so it's a hassle to get rid of them," she said.
She said televisions will be accepted, but at a cost of $1 per diagonal inch.
"So if you have a 19-inch TV and want to get rid of it, it will cost (you) $19."
Davis said any questions regarding the electronic discard portion of the event can be directed to Patty Bratton of Lancaster-Fairfield Recycling and Litter Prevention at 740-681-4423. Only cash or checks will be accepted as payment for disposal fees.
Document shredding will also be offered, however, there is a limit of three legal-size boxes of documents per vehicle.
Davis said the drug and electronic collection and paper shredding event held last April netted almost 36 pounds of pills, 41 pounds of sharps, and 48 pounds of liquids.
In addition, 4,200 pounds of paper were shredded, "saving the equivalent of 21 trees," and the event collected 4,418 pounds of electronics.
"This ain't our first rodeo, I've been here five years and each time we do it we've seen an increase (in participants)," Davis said.
"It's been very successful."