The Drug Enforcement Administration will hold its semiannual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday at numerous locations in the Southland and around the country, where people can turn in their expired, unused prescription medications for proper disposal.

“DEA’s October 2020 Take Back Day brought in a record-high amount of expired, unused prescription medications, with the public turning in close to 500 tons of unwanted drugs,” the DEA said in a statement.

“Over the 10-year span of Take Back Day, DEA has brought in more than 6,800 tons of prescription drugs,” the DEA reported. “With studies indicating a majority of abused prescription drugs come from family and friends, including from home medicine cabinets, clearing out unused medicine is essential.”

The DEA and its partners will collect tablets, capsules, patches and other solid forms of prescription drugs. Also, authorities will continue to accept vaping devices and cartridges at its drop off locations, provided the lithium batteries are removed.

However, items that will not be accepted for collection are:

— liquids, including intravenous solutions;

— syringes and other items classified as “sharps”; and

— illegal drugs.

The locations of the collection sites, which will be operational from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 24, are available at www.deatakeback.com . More information is available by calling 800-882-9539.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. has seen an increase in overdose deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic, with some 87,200 Americans dying as a result of a drug overdose in the one-year period from Sept. 1, 2019 to Sept. 1, 2020, the most ever recorded in a 12-month period.

The increase in drug overdose deaths appeared to begin prior to the COVID-19 health emergency, accelerating significantly during the first months of the pandemic, the DEA reported.

“This quick and convenient event allows the public the opportunity to be a part of the solution by ridding their households of potentially harmful drugs that can end up in the wrong hands,” said DEA Los Angeles Special Agent in Charge Bill Bodner.

“Addiction and recreational drug use often starts with leftover prescription drugs in the home and it is especially dangerous with opioids and pain killers,” Bodner said.

The public can drop off potentially dangerous prescription medications at collection sites, which will adhere to local COVID-19 guidelines and regulations, the DEA reported.

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