By EJ Mundell
THURSDAY, April 26, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Want to keep your unused medicines out of the hands of others?
You can safely dispose of dangerous expired and unwanted prescription drugs on Take Back Day, this Saturday, April 28.
Americans are in the midst of an epidemic of opioid drug abuse, and "medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse," the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) noted in a news release.
That's why the DEA and local agencies are holding Take Back Day events across the country. Drop off your pills or patches between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at a location near you (see link below).
The service is free and anonymous, but take note: Needles, sharps and liquids will not be accepted.
Government statistics show "year after year that the majority of misused and abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including someone else's medication being stolen from the home medicine cabinet," the DEA said.
And there's a "green" reason to take advantage of Take Back Day. According to the DEA, the "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."
Last fall, more than 912,000 pounds of prescription drugs were turned in at more than 5,300 Take Back Day sites operated by the DEA and nearly 4,300 state and local law enforcement partners.
In the 14 previous Take Back events, more than 9 million pounds of pills have been turned in, according to the DEA.
Search the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration database for a Take Back Day site near you.