Summit County has its own option for dealing with unused, unwanted and out-of-date prescription drugs.

The county has a program to collect and safely dispose of such pills and over-the-counter medications.

The 19-month-old program has collected 3,549 pounds of drugs, said spokesman Terry Tuttle of Summit County Public Health.

This included 1,333 pounds in 2011 and 2,216 pounds in 2012 through June 30, he said.

The total is growing as more people learn about the program and that is encouraging, he said. Officials expect the totals collected to grow even more in the future, he said.

Funding is being sought to continue the program.

The program involves local police departments, the Summit County Sheriff’s Department, the Summit General Health District and the Summit-Akron Solid Waste Management Authority.

The police departments involved are: Akron, Barberton, Fairlawn, Hudson, Macedonia, New Franklin, Richfield, Stow, Tallmadge and Twinsburg, plus Bath, Copley and Sagamore Hills townships. The Summit County Sheriff’s Department training center in Green is also involved.

The program, dubbed Dispose of Unused Medications Properly (DUMP), is designed to reduce drug abuse and environmental problems.

The medicine deposited in the boxes of heavy-duty steel are shipped to a hazardous-waste incinerator in Lorain County for disposal. That keeps the drugs out of landfills and they won’t be flushed down drains, which can pollute streams and lakes.

Medications should be left in original containers with names and addresses on prescription labels marked out. Syringes cannot be accepted. Call 330-926-5600 for information about syringe disposal.

The countywide program was largely patterned after one in Bath Township, which installed a collection box in early 2010.

For questions about the Summit County program, contact Tuttle at 330-926-5630 or go to www.schd.org.

— Bob Downing