FRIDAY, April 29, 2011 (HealthDay News) -- Americans can turn in unused prescription drugs at more than 4,700 sites nationwide on Saturday as part of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.
The free event, held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time, gives people an opportunity to safely dispose of expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs that could be stolen and misused if left in a home's medicine cabinet.
Collection sites can be found by going to the DEA Web site (www.dea.gov) and clicking the "Got Drugs?" banner. You can search for your closet collection site by zip code, city or county.
More Americans abuse prescription drugs than cocaine, hallucinogens and heroin combined, according to the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Studies show that the drugs are often obtained from family and friends.
Last year, more than 242,000 pounds -- 121 tons -- of prescription drugs were collected at nearly 4,100 sites operated by government, community, public health and law enforcement partners, according to a DEA news release.
"The overwhelming public response to DEA's first nationwide Take-Back event last fall not only rid homes of potentially harmful prescription drugs, but was an unprecedented opportunity to educate everyone about the growing prescription drug abuse problem," DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart said in an agency news release.
"Studies have shown that, for many, prescription drugs are the very first drugs they abuse and all too often they aren't the last. That is why we are committed to helping Americans keep their homes safe by ridding their medicine cabinets of expired, unused, and unwanted drugs," she added.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more about safe disposal of medicines.