FRIDAY, Sept. 26, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The ninth National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day will be held Saturday at more than 5,200 sites across the United States, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration says.
The free and anonymous program enables people to bring their expired, unneeded and unwanted prescription pills and other solids, like patches, to the sites, which will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time. The sites will not accept liquid medicines, needles or other sharps.
One expert in the prevention and treatment of substance abuse said programs like these are crucial.
"National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day and other similar awareness programs are extremely important, common-sense tools in the fight against addiction in this country," said Janina Kean, president and CEO of High Watch Recovery Center in Kent, Conn. "Simply put, if you keep these unwanted drugs in your medicine cabinets, your children may have access to them, which is how the slippery slope towards drug addiction begins."
So, to rid your home of unwanted medicine and to find a collection site near you, visit the DEA website or call 1-800-882-9539.
The take-back program been highly successful. Since the first one in September 2010, Americans have brought in more than 4.1 million pounds (over 2,100 tons) of prescription drugs, according to the DEA.
Unused prescription drugs in homes are a public health and safety issue because they can be accidentally consumed or stolen, misused and abused. An estimated 6.5 million Americans abused prescription drugs in 2013 -- double the number who used heroin, cocaine and hallucinogens like LSD and Ecstasy combined, the DEA said.
In 2011, more than 22,000 Americans died from overdoses of prescription drugs, including more than 16,500 deaths from narcotic painkillers, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In related news, new rules for the disposal of unwanted prescription drugs take effect next month. Approved drug makers and distributors, narcotic treatment programs, retail pharmacies and hospitals/clinics with on-site pharmacies will be allowed to collect unwanted prescription drugs.
Here's where you can learn more about the drug take-back day.