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Got Unwanted Pills? Drug Take-Back Day Is April 30

National effort coordinates drop-off sites to keep prescriptions out of the hands of abusers

THURSDAY, April 28, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Have you ever wondered how to get rid of an unfinished bottle of prescription drugs?

Don't throw it in the trash or flush it down the toilet, advises the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Those methods of dumping your pills can actually be a safety hazard, the DEA says.

Instead, Americans with expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs can bring them for disposal at drop-off centers nationwide during Drug Take-Back Day, which takes place this year on Saturday, April 30, according to the DEA.

Drop-off sites will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. You can find one near you by going to the DEA's Diversion Control website. The service is free and anonymous.

Only pills and patches will be accepted. The DEA will not take liquids, needles or sharps.

The 10 previous take-back events have collected more than 5.5 million pounds (more than 2,750 tons) of pills, according to the DEA.

"This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse," the DEA said in a news release.

The DEA said rates of prescription drug abuse, overdoses and accidental poisonings due to prescription drugs in the United States are alarmingly high. And, a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet, previous studies have shown.

More information

To learn more about prescription drug abuse, visit the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse.

SOURCE: U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, news release

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