The annual Operation Medicine Drop program will offer Grove City area residents the chance to do some spring cleaning of their medicine chest.

Residents will be able to bring expired or unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 27 to the Jackson Township Fire Station, 3650 Hoover Road.

The service is offered at no cost.

Operation Medicine Drop is held in coordination with the Drug Enforcement Administration's National Take Back Day, said Linda Rosine, the city's environmental supervisor.

"It's really important that people dispose of the medications they no longer need," Rosine said. "First of all, we want to make sure we keep them out of the hands of children."

There are also safety concerns if medications are flushed down the toilet, disposed of in the sink or simply thrown away with the trash, she said.

"If you put them down the sink or flush them away, the pills dissolve and trace levels of the drugs may end up in our water supply and ultimately in our rivers and streams where they may harm wildlife," Rosine said.

"SWACO doesn't want them in the landfill either, because once they dissolve there, there may be some chemicals that are released that are not good for the environment."

Residents can bring prescription, over-the-counter and pet medications in pill, powder or patch form to the Operation Medicine Drop.

"It's a drive-up event," Rosine said. "You'll drive your car through one of the fire bays and hand over your medications to a police officer or firefighter."

All medications must be removed from packaging and placed in a clear, sealed bag, she said. Needles, lancets, syringes, inhalers, aerosols, liquids, creams and pastes will not be accepted.

"If you don't have a sharps container, what we tell people is to put those items in an empty detergent bottle, put the lid on securely, cover the top with masking tape and put it in with your regular trash," Rosine said.

The first Operation Medicine Drop was held in 2010 in coordination with the Drug Enforcement Administration's National Take Back Day, which promotes the safe disposal of medication.

In 2014, the Grove City Division of Police, in partnership with the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators, installed a drop box for prescription and over-the-counter drugs in the lobby of the Grove City Safety Complex, 3360 Park St.

The box, which is similar to a mailbox, is available for anonymous disposal of medicine 24 hours a day, Rosine said. In 2018, the Operation Medicine Drop single-day event drew nearly 300 vehicles and collected about 218 pounds of pills, she said.

About 536 pounds of pills were placed over the year in the drop box at the safety complex.

"Between the two of them, that's about 750, 760 pounds of medication," Rosine said. "That's a lot of pills that we're getting out of people's homes and away from the water supply and landfill."

Since 2010, more than 1,300 pounds of pills have been collected at the one-day Operation Medicine Drop event, she said. About 2,400 pounds have been collected at the drop box.

Operation Medicine Drop is sponsored by the city of Grove City, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Grove City Division of Police, Jackson Township Fire Department, Giant Eagle and Keep Grove City Beautiful.