(WYTV) – The DEA is holding its 19th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day Saturday throughout the country.

The nationwide event aims to provide a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposing prescription drugs, while educating on the potential for abuse of medications.

Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.

“The initiative – now in its tenth year – addresses a vital public safety and public health issue,” said DEA Acting Administrator Timothy Shea. “Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Together with our partners, we are not only holding National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, but offering other ways to dispose of unwanted, unused, and expired prescription medications.”

Collection sites will adhere to local COVID-19 guidelines and regulations in order to maintain the safety of all participants and local law enforcement.

“Pharmaceutical drugs, particularly controlled substances, taken without a prescription or a practitioner’s supervision can be just as dangerous as taking illicit drugs. Prescription Drug Take Back Day is an excellent opportunity to not only properly dispose of these substance, but to have conversations about their proper and safe storage,” said DEA Detroit Field Division Special Agent in Charge Keith Martin, whose office oversees DEA efforts in Michigan, Ohio and Northern Kentucky.

Given the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, DEA wants to ensure that the public is aware of other ways they can dispose of unwanted prescription drugs without having to leave their homes.

In addition to DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, prescription drugs can be disposed of at any of the 11,000 DEA authorized collectors at any time throughout the year.

The DEA also encourages the public to reach out to their local law enforcement to find out if they have any permanent drug disposal locations throughout their community.

The DEA and its partners will collect tablets, capsules, patches and other solid forms.

They will also accept vape pens or other e-cigarette devices from individual consumers, only after the batteries are removed from the devices. If the battery cannot be removed, individual consumers can check with large electronic chain stores who may accept the vape pen or e-cigarette devices for proper disposal.

Liquids, including intravenous solutions and syringes, and illegal drugs cannot be dropped off.

This service is free and anonymous.

For more information on DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, and to find a collection site near you, visit www.deatakeback.com.