Pill drop-off Sat.

MARQUETTE – The Superior Watershed Partnership is hosting a one-day pharmaceutical collection event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in communities across the Upper Peninsula.

Residents can drop off expired and unwanted medications at sites in 18 U.P. communities. Area drop-off sites are: Trinity Lutheran Church, 414 E. Ridge St., Ishpeming; Grace United Methodist Church, 927 W. Fair Ave., Marquette; Messiah Lutheran Church, 305 W. Magnetic St., Marquette; and Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, 110 W. Jewell St., Munising.

The SWP is celebrating its 10th anniversary of hosting U.P.-wide Earth Day events by partnering with its Earth Keeper church network to bring this free event to the public.

On Earth Day 2007, the SWP, in collaboration with 10 faiths and 200 churches, hosted more than 20 pharmaceutical collections in every major U.P. city. More than 2,000 pounds of old and unwanted drugs were collected by day’s end.

The event received national attention from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and marked the beginning of similar efforts by the Drug Enforcement Administration and local law enforcement posts.

For example, for a year the Marquette Police Department has been working with the Marquette County Health Department to run a prescription drop-off program. Every month the department takes in 50 to 100 pounds of pills from the public, which prevents improper disposal of the pills and prescription abuse.

The police department requests prescriptions be carried in their proper container while taking them to the police station at 300 W. Baraga Ave. Pills are to be removed from their containers or packaging before being placed in the receptacle. Liquids and needles are not accepted.

The Ishpeming, Forsyth Township and Chocolay police departments also run prescription drop-off programs.

For this year’s SWP collection, the partnership is working with Earth Keeper congregations as well as the Salvation Army and local units of government.

“The old way of dumping pills in the toilet is no longer acceptable,” said Natasha Koss, an SWP program manager, in a news release.

Accepted at the SWP pharmaceutical collections will be prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, narcotics, liquids, and medical waste like sharps and old mercury thermometers.