Law enforcement and health agencies across the Southland will hold collection events Saturday as part of the 17th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.
Organized by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the event urges people to turn in expired, unused or unwanted prescription medications in an effort to combat accidental overdoses and to prevent the drugs from accidentally winding up in the hands of children or other people who may ingest them.
Federal officials said turning over the medications for proper disposal also avoids environmental hazards posed by throwing them in the trash or flushing them down a toilet.
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According to the DEA, nearly 11 million pounds of medications have been collected across the country in take-back events over the past nine years.
In Los Angeles County, more than 21,000 pounds of medications have been collected during take-back events, according to the county Department of Public Health.
"Many people who misuse or abuse prescription drugs obtain them from a friend or relative," said Barbara Ferrer, director of the county Department of Public Health. "We encourage everyone to rid their homes of medications that are expired, no longer needed or potentially dangerous if taken by someone else."
More than 30 drop-off sites will be open throughout the county, primarily at law enforcement stations, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The service is free and anonymous, with no questions asked.
The public can find a nearby collection site by visiting www.dea.gov.