Riverside County residents who want to get rid of expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs can discard them at a variety of locations next week during a National Drug Take-Back Day.

The April 28 effort, organized by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and local law enforcement agencies, is intended to highlight the importance of taking commonly abused drugs out of circulation.

“This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue,” according to a sheriff’s department statement. “Many Americans are not aware that medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are increasing … as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.”

The DEA began holding take-backs eight years ago to provide the public with alternatives to flushing expired or unwanted pills down a toilet.

According to the agency, since its first take-back event, 9 million pounds — more than 4,500 tons — of prescription and non-prescription drugs have been collected at thousands of disposal sites throughout the country.

The agency noted that provisions in the federal Secure & Responsible Drug Disposal Act also authorize pharmacies, hospitals and other facilities to serve as collection sites year-round.

County residents are invited to drop off unwanted pills at the following sites between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 28:

— CVS Pharmacy, 1322 W. Sixth St., Corona;

— Murrieta Police Department, 2 Town Square;

— Kaiser Medical Center parking lot, 10800 Magnolia Ave., Riverside;

— sheriff’s Hemet station, 43950 Acacia Ave.;

— sheriff’s Jurupa Valley station, 7477 Mission Blvd.;

— sheriff’s Lake Elsinore station, 333 Limited Ave.;

— sheriff’s Moreno Valley station, 22850 Calle San Juan De Los Lagos;

— sheriff’s Palm Desert station, 73705 Gerald Ford Drive;

— sheriff’s Perris station, 137 N. Perris Blvd.; and

— sheriff’s Southwest station, 30755 Auld Road, Murrieta.

Additional sites may be announced in the next few days, according to organizers.

No questions will be asked of people disposing of pills or other medications, organizers said. More information is available here: www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/ .

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