National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is Saturday

Several area law enforcement agencies and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration will recognize National Drug Take Back Day on Saturday.

The program lets residents take unused or unwanted prescription drugs to drop-off sites to safely dispose of them.

Unwanted medications can be dropped off from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at five locations in Merced County with no questions asked, Deputy Delray Shelton said.

The Sheriff’s Department main parking lot at 700 West 22nd Street; Merced College parking lot A at 3600 M St.; the sheriff’s substation in Delhi at 9481 Shanks Road; and in Planada at 9215 Highway140 will all accept prescription drugs.

Each year, more than 22,000 people nationwide die from drug overdoses, according to a 2008 study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Many Americans are not aware that medicines languishing in home cabinets are highly prone to diversion, misuse and abuse, according to a news release.

In 2007, some 28,000 people died from unintentional drug overdoses, mostly from prescription drugs, according to the DEA.

After five National Drug Take Back days, more than 2 million pounds of prescription drugs have been collected nationwide, according to the DEA.

After DEA’s first Take-Back event two years ago, Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010. It amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an “ultimate user” of controlled-substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them.