LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Southland residents were able to get rid of unwanted or outdated prescription drugs Saturday by dropping them off at designated collection sites during the Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., drop-off sites were open throughout the region, operated by police departments and other agencies. The service was free and anonymous, with no questions asked.

The public can find a nearby collection site by clicking here.

During previous Drug Take-Back events, Los Angeles-area residents have turned in thousands of pounds of medicines. During an event last year, more than 893,000 pounds of prescription drugs were collected nationally, DEA officials said.

During a take-back event in April, law enforcement agencies in the seven- county Southern California region collected 30,985 pounds of medications.

According to the DEA, medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion and abuse.

The agency noted that rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are alarmingly high — with 6.4 million Americans age 12 or over abusing medications. That’s more than the number of people abusing cocaine, hallucinogens and heroin combined, according to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet, according to the DEA.

(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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