By Mike Kruzman /

A special event is coming up for local residents wishing to properly dispose of unused medications and needles.

National Drug Take Back Day is coming up this Saturday, October 24th from 10am to 2pm, putting the Big Red Barrel back in the spotlight. The Big Red Barrel helps prevent the misuse of medications by giving residents a safe place to properly dispose of them. Most abused prescription drugs come from family and friends, and studies show that flushing drugs down the toilet or throwing them in the trash can have negative effects on the environment.

All Livingston County police stations, the Sheriff’s Office, and the Michigan State Police- Brighton Post have one, with a couple alternate locations being highlighted for the event. Big Red Barrels will be at both the Genoa Township Hall and the Pinckney Town Square, with the drain commission present to collect sharps. The service is free and no questions will be asked.

Pills should be put in a zip-lock bag and dropped in the receptacle. It’s okay to mix pills in the same bag. Liquid medications will be accepted so long as they are kept separate and dumped into a zip-lock bag with enough paper towel to soak them up with. Those disposing of sharps, or needles, should put them in a disposable container that can be purchased at any pharmacy, or placed in a used laundry detergent bottle with the top being secured with tape.

Since the program began in 2011, over 20,000 pounds of pills have been properly disposed of in the 80 Big Red Barrels across Michigan.

For more information, contact the drain commissioner’s office at 517-546-0040.