By E.J. Mundell
FRIDAY, Oct. 26, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- It's a twice-a-year ritual now: A day when Americans with unused prescription meds can safely dispose of them as part of National Drug Take-Back Day.
Saturday, Oct. 27, is the latest Take-Back Day, according to the program's sponsor, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Americans can bring excess pills -- drugs that might otherwise find their way to abusers -- to designated drop-off sites across the country. The service is free and anonymous.
"DEA's National Drug Take-Back Days are important opportunities for people to turn in unwanted and potentially addictive drugs with no questions asked," Attorney General Jeff Sessions explained in an agency news release.
"These Take-Back Days continue to break records," he said, "with the latest [last spring] taking nearly 1 million pounds of prescription drugs off of our streets."
Each year, most misused and abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including someone else's medication being stolen from the home medicine cabinet, according to data from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
In the 15 Take-Back Days held since the program's inception in 2010, Americans have turned in and safely disposed of about 5,000 tons of prescription drugs, the DEA said.
To find the drop-off location near you, head to the DEA collection site finder. The agency notes that it cannot accept liquids, needles or sharps, only pills or patches.
This semi-annual event is an opportunity for Americans "in every community across the country to come together and do his or her part to fight the opioid crisis -- simply by disposing of unwanted prescription medications from their medicine cabinets," former DEA acting administrator Robert Patterson said in an agency news release.
There's more on the opioid addiction crisis at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
SOURCES: U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, news releases, October 2018
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