H-CENTRAL COAST

Apr 27, 2012 10:10 PM by Ariel Wesler

Drug Take-Back Program takes place Saturday

Got unwanted or expired prescription drugs sitting around? Local law enforcement agencies want to help you dispose of the pills properly.

The Fourth Drug Take-Back event will take place Saturday from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. It's all part of a national effort by the Drug Enforcement Administration to improve public health and safety. Officials hope to cut down on the high rates of prescription drug abuse across the country, which the DEA calls an epidemic.

They're in high demand and they're likely sitting in a medicine cabinet near you.

"Right now, the use of prescription drugs is actually rivaling the use of street drugs," said Sgt. Chuck Strange with the Lompoc Police Department.

And it's that very demand law enforcement officers say could put you at risk.

"Burglars say they've broken into the houses of elderly individuals thinking that their going to get a stash of medication that they can sell on the street," Strange said.

This weekend, local police departments are giving you a free place to put those pills.

"There's no questions asked. There's no taking of names or anything like that," Strange said.

They don't want you to toss them in the trash or down the toilet because that could harm the environment.

Health experts say some of the most dangerous drugs are the one's we don't usually think about, the unused or expired prescription drugs lurking in our medicine cabinets that could easily fall into the wrong hands.

In fact, they could even be the wrong drugs.

"A lot of people actually take medications out and in put in other medications and you wouldn't know, even if the label says one thing, what's actually in the pill bottle," said Dr. David Lennon with the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.

When it comes to prescriptions, health officials say keeping them out of the house will help keep you out of trouble.

"All medications have side effects and the potential for great harm if taken incorrectly or by someone that they're not prescribed for," Lennon said.

The DEA says during the first three events, it collected nearly 500 tons of medication.

To find the closest drug drop-off location in your area, click here.

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