Spring drug take back event Saturday


By Staff Report

The Zanesville-Muskingum County Health Department is hosting its twice-annual drive-through event to accept any unused medications residents may have laying around.

As part of the nationally hosted event, the program is designed to give Americans opportunities to prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths by discarding expired or unneeded prescriptions.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), over 4,000 locations across the country regularly participate and nearly 500 tons of material in total is collected each time.

The event was first started nationally by the DEA in 2010 based upon Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data which showed that many American households had sizable quantities of drugs they no longer needed.

Often those drugs are the most easily accessible to young children looking to experiment with drugs, some of which can cause severe adverse side effects, another reason the DEA recommends only keeping active prescriptions.

Multiple sites will be hosted throughout Muskingum County Saturday, downtown at the Health Department, in South Zanesville at Riesbeck’s on June Parkway and in New Concord at its Police Station.

Health officials say the events, which happen once in the spring and once in the fall, are beneficial to the community as unused prescriptions are both a health and safety risk to community members.

Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz has called the event a great alternative to throwing items in the trash or flushing them down the toilet.

According to Lutz, his department has had cases where either friends or relatives of an unsuspecting individual have had their unused or old medicine taken, almost always without the prescription holder knowing they were stolen.

Residents are encouraged to bring their medications, over-the-counter tablets, liquids and needles to be safely discarded.

The drop-off is anonymous and items given to the health department do not need to be labeled or in original containers.

Illicit substances such as marijuana or methamphetamines will not be accepted.

Usually, each local event hosted by the Health Department collects around 112 pounds of medication and sees roughly 150 cars come through.

By disposing of the drugs properly, residents do not risk their medications being taken out of the trash or getting into any water supplies if flushed.

Needles are sent to Genesis, liquids are sent to Northside Pharmacy and medications and over-the-counter tablets are sent to the DEA.

All events occur on Saturday, April 30 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., the Zanesville-Muskingum County Health Department has its location at 205 North 7th Street, downtown Zanesville.

The event is free and does not require exiting the vehicle. The Muskingum County Jail also accepts outdated or unneeded medication year-round at its location downtown.