SPARTA, WI -

A drop box has been installed at the Sparta Police Department’s lobby so residents can bring their unused or expired prescriptions and over-the-counter medications.

The drop box, located at 121 E. Oak Street, is accessible for people in the community to drop-off medication Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

It was installed through the Monroe County Safe Community Coalition’s Drug Free Community grant.

"It’s really important because we’ve been having a lot of issues with people misusing prescription medication and over-the-counter medication," said Drug Free Communities Coordinator Natalie Carlisle.

Carlisle says the goals of the program are to keep drugs off the street, prevent overdoses and accidental poisonings, and avoid environmental contamination.

"There’s a huge demand for medication as a street value, as an illegal street value drug," said Sparta Police Chief Mike Kass. "So we want to get it out of people’s homes and get it tucked away somewhere safe where it can’t be used for anything other than it was intended."

Here are the items that can be dropped off: non-narcotics, narcotics, over-the-counter, herbals, and veterinary medications. The items that should NOT be placed in the box are: needles or sharps, inhalers, biohazard materials and illegal drugs.

"We’re encouraging people to not keep medication in their home, that we really want people not to flush it down the toilet, to not throw it in the garbage, to make sure that it’s being disposed of properly," Carlisle said.

Carlisle hopes there will be at least one medication drop box in every school district in Monroe County by the time the Drug Free Community grant is completed. They're in the third year of the grant.

There is also a drop box for unwanted medication at the Tomah Police Department’s lobby, which is funded by another source.