By Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Oct. 27, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Do you have unused prescription drugs taking up space in your medicine cabinet?
On Saturday, Oct. 28, you can safely dispose of unwanted medicines at sites across the country as part of the next "Take Back Day," sponsored by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and state and local partners.
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., you can take pills and patches -- no liquids, needles or sharps -- to designated collection sites. The service is free and anonymous.
In April, more than 450 tons (900,000 pounds) of prescription drugs were turned in at almost 5,500 such sites. The Oct. 28 collection will be the 14th event in seven years. In the 13 previous events, more than 8.1 million pounds of pills have been turned in.
"This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue," the DEA said in a new release on the initiative. "Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.
"Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet," the agency added. "In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines -- flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash -- both pose potential safety and health hazards."