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Drop-off locations for unwanted, unused prescription medications will be found across the county Saturday for the 22nd bi-annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., participants can drop off as many medications as necessary, for free and with no questions asked.

To find a drop-off location, visit takebackday.dea.gov. The 23 locations are based at police and sheriff’s stations throughout the county, as well as some military hospitals. There are also several drop-off boxes available around the county year-round, mostly at pharmacies and health care offices.

The event is designed to help empty household medicine cabinets of prescription drugs that could be abused. Experts agree that many opioid addictions start with prescription pills found at home and that most people who misuse prescriptions get the medicine from family members or friends.

“Preventing prescription drug and opioid addiction starts in your home,” DEA San Diego Field Division Special Agent in Charge Shelly S. Howe said in a statement. “Please help prevent the misuse of prescription drugs by bringing your unwanted medications to any of the drop-off locations. This is a free and anonymous way to dispose of unwanted medications.”

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The event isn’t limited to pills. Participants can turn in capsules, patches and other solid forms of prescription drugs, as well as veterinary medications and vaping devices if the batteries have been removed. Sites will not be able to accept syringes, sharps or illicit drugs.

The event comes amid a rise in unintentional prescription-related overdose deaths in the county. In 2020, the most recent year statistics are available, there were 576 unintentional prescription-related deaths, more than double the total from 2019.

“The pandemic, opioid epidemic, and divisions in our country led to a perfect storm for increased substance misuse,” said Dr. Nicole Esposito, the county’s chief population health officer, in a statement.

The last Take Back Day, in October 2019, netted more than 6,000 pounds of prescription drugs at 19 collection sites throughout San Diego County, federal officials said.

Source: This post first appeared on sandiegouniontribune.com

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