Riverside County residents who want to get rid of expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs will have an opportunity to discard them at multiple locations Saturday during a National Drug Take-Back Day.

The effort, organized by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in partnership with 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 DEA statement. “Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse … Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines — flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash — pose potential safety and health hazards.”

The DEA began holding take-backs nine years ago to provide the public with a more secure means of disposal.

According to the agency, since its first take-back event, 11.8 million pounds of prescription and non-prescription drugs have been collected at thousands of disposal sites throughout the country. During the previous take-back day, 937,443 pounds of drugs were dropped off, officials said.

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

County residents are invited to dispose of unwanted pills at the following sites between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.:

— Corona Police Department, parking lot, 730 Public Safety Way;

— Indio Police Department, 46-800 Jackson St.;

— Murrieta Police Department, 2 Town Square;

— Palm Springs Police Department, 200 S. Civic Drive;

— Riverside Police Department collection site in Kaiser Medical Center parking lot, 10800 Magnolia Ave.;

— sheriff’s Blythe station, 260 N. Spring St.;

— 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.;

— sheriff’s Southwest Station, 30755 Auld Road, Murrieta; and

— sheriff’s Thermal station, 86625 Airport Blvd.

No questions will be asked of people disposing of medications or other ingestible products, organizers said.

More information is available at www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/index.html.

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