The Santa Monica Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration will give the public another chance to prevent drug abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription pills.

Bring medications for disposal to the front of the Public Safety Facility on Saturday, Sept. 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. An officer will be available at the curb to make it easy for people to drive up and drop off the drugs.

The service is free, anonymous and no questions will be asked, police said.

During the four previous take-back events held, over 774 tons of medication were collected nationwide, of which more than 58,000 pounds were collected in the greater Los Angeles area alone, officials said.

The initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue, said SMPD Sgt. Richard Lewis. Medication that languishes in cabinets is highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. 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. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines — flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash — both pose potential safety and health hazards.

Four days after the first take-back event in September 2010, Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which 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. The act also allows the attorney general to authorize long-term care facilities to dispose of their residents’ controlled substances in certain instances.

The DEA has begun drafting regulations to implement the act, a process that can take as long as 24 months. Until new regulations are in place, local law enforcement agencies like Santa Monica and the DEA will continue to hold prescription drug take-back events every few months, Lewis said.

The Public Safety Facility is located at 333 Olympic Dr. in the Civic Center.

For more information, visit santamonicapd.org or call (310) 395-9931.

Print Friendly