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People are encouraged to clean out their medicine cabinets this month and make sure any medications that aren’t needed are properly disposed of at a drug take back event on Saturday, Sept. 26.

In Ahwatukee Foothills that event will take place in the Target parking lot at 48th Street and Ray Road from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event is part of a national campaign. Similar events will be held in cities across the nation.

The collection is anonymous and free. Police officers will be on hand to take expired or unwanted medications with no questions asked.

“Prescription drug abuse is a huge problem and this is a great opportunity for folks around the country to help reduce the threat,” said Chuck Rosenberg, DEA acting administrator. “Please clean out your medicine cabinet and make your home safe from drug theft and abuse.”

Medicines that sit in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse, according to the DEA.

“Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are at alarming rates, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs,” said a statement from the DEA. “Studies show that many abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, many Americans do not know how to properly dispose of their unused medicine, often flushing them down the toilet or throwing them away – both potential safety and health hazards.”

The DEA cannot accept liquids, needles or sharps at these collection events.

Last September, Americans turned in 309 tons of prescription drugs to Take Back events across the country.

Collection sites in every community around the country can be found at www.dea.gov.

• Contact writer: 480-898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com.

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