KETTERING, Ohio (WDTN) – The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is encouraging anyone with unwanted medications they don’t need any more to properly dispose of them this weekend.

Saturday, April 22, around 40 locations in the Miami Valley are partnering with the DEA for the first National Drug Take Back Day of 2023.

“We have been in the throes of the opioid epidemic for well over six, seven years now, and we’ve made a lot of headway, but we still have a lot of work that needs to be done,” Brittini Long, co-chair of the opioid prevention branch of the Montgomery County Prevention Coalition, said.

Long said leftover prescription medications can easily fall into the wrong hands, and create a gateway to addiction.

“We know that two-thirds of young people who have reported using prescription medication that wasn’t prescribed to them over the last year got it out of their friends or family’s medicine cabinets,” Long said.

To get prescriptions out of people’s homes safely, the DEA holds National Drug Takeback Day twice a year.

Anyone can come into a collection site and anonymously dispose of their leftover medications on Saturday, April 22, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“We don’t take syringes or sharps, obviously, those usually people have safe containers for those, but most any kind of medication, that’s in a pill bottle or even a liquid, as long as it’s sealed tight,” DEA Dayton Resident Agent in Charge Steve Lucas said.

The Kettering Police Department is one of the many agencies partnering with the DEA on Saturday. During last year’s two Take Back Days, the departing collected 150 pounds of medications.

“When you think about it, one little pill, it doesn’t really weigh anything, shake a pill bottle, doesn’t weigh much, so that’s a lot of volume to get to that amount in just one location,” Kettering Police Department Public Information Officer Tyler Johnson said. “You think, nationwide, that’s actually larger.”

Take Back Day has removed more than 8,300 tons of medication nationwide from circulation since it started, according to the DEA.

Lucas said along with preventing prescription drugs from being misused, it keeps them out of the environment.

“A lot of people just either throw them in a trash or go to the landfill and/or flushing stuff down a toilet,” Lucas said. “It’s a much safer way that we incinerate it in an OSHA-approved facility, so you’re, again, you’re also not polluting waterways or landfills.”

To look up your nearest Drug Take Back Day location, click here.