NORTH AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Saturday is the 24th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Several locations in the CSRA are helping collect.

The Drug Enforcement Administration and its partners will collect tablets, capsules, patches and other solid forms of prescription medication. 

The initiative started in 2010 as a response to the nation’s drug overdose epidemic. 

“They take them thinking, you know, ‘Maybe it’ll help me’,” said Laura Knotts, Pharmacist, Parks Pharmacy of North Augusta. And 70% of people who become addicted to medications end up getting them from the homes of friends and family.”

Knotts says the pharmacy has successfully taken back hundreds of pounds of medications over the years. 

“If you’re not using it and it has no purpose of being in your home, it’s best to go ahead and get it out,” said Knotts. “Because if someone gets a hold of it unintentionally- thinks it’s something else, takes too much of it- they can overdose, end up in the hospital…whatever the case may be.”

The DEA asks households to remove unused medications to prevent misuse and help keep communities safer and healthier.

“Make sure that you take this opportunity to get rid of some of those old drugs in your house to prevent these things from happening, such as overdose and contaminations and things like that,” said Lieutenant Luke Sherman of North Augusta Public Safety. “It’s just good to get rid of them in a safe way.”

Take Back Day offers free and anonymous disposal of unneeded medications at more than 4,000 locations nationwide.

Augusta University pharmacist Brent Lake recently spoke about the potential dangers of prescription meds at an elementary school during Poison Prevention Week.

“You never want to leave your medications in a place where a kid can grab them,” said Lake. “You know, especially like a child that doesn’t know anything about medications and they see it and they’re like ‘oh, it looks like candy’ or ‘it looks like an  M&M’ or ‘it looks like a TicTac’.”

Knotts tells us there’s also an environmental purpose for properly discarding your drugs.

“It gets into our water system,” said Knotts. “If you flush it, if you put it on the sink, if you bury it, whatever…. It gets into the soil, into the feed, into the animals, and then it comes right back to us.”

For more information on where to drop off your unused medication on Take Back Day – or any day of the year- you can use the links below.

Take Back Day collection locations

Year-round controlled substance collection locations