Local law enforcement agencies are participating in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, April 28. Personnel from the Vail Police Department and the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office will host collection sites from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Vail Municipal Building, WECMRD Field House in Edwards, and Costco in Gypsum. This is an opportunity to clean out your medicine cabinets of all unwanted, expired or unused medications and have them disposed of safely. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.Getting rid of unused medication helps prevent the accidental and intentional misuse of these items. Eagle River Water & Sanitation District supports safe disposal of medicine because it protects water sources by keeping drugs out of wastewater and the landfill.The collected items will be incinerated in an environmentally friendly manner by the Drug Enforcement Administration, which spearheads the national effort. Locally, the DEA’s National Take Back Initiative is coordinated by the Safe Drug Disposal Program, which is a partnership among the Vail Police Department, Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, Vail Health, Eagle County, and Eagle River Water & Sanitation District.Items that can be dropped off Saturday are vitamins, supplements, medicated ointments/lotions, over-the-counter and prescription medications, including controlled substances (narcotics). Please, no needles (sharps) or pressurized canisters.Latest take back day statsLast October, Americans turned in 456 tons (912,305 pounds) of prescription drugs at 5,321 sites set up by the DEA and its 4,274 law enforcement and community partners across the nation. In Colorado, 66 law enforcement entities collected nearly 10 tons (19,232 pounds) of prescription drugs at 91 sites.The previous fourteen DEA-coordinated Take Back events nationwide since 2010 have removed more than 9 million pounds (4,508 tons) of prescription medications from circulation.Public safety and public healthThis initiative addresses a crucial public safety and public health issue. Unused prescription medications in homes can be accidentally ingested, stolen, misused, and abused. 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 were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet. Also, Americans know that outdated methods for disposing of unused medicines – flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash – pose potential safety and health hazards.In 2014, new regulations made the disposal of controlled prescription drugs easier for patients and their caregivers. Since then, law enforcement agencies, pharmacies, hospitals and clinics have begun continuous collection of these medications.Year-round disposal sitesThere are six permanent medication take back receptacles in the Eagle River valley. The Vail Police Department, Avon Police Department, and Eagle County Sheriff’s Office each host a drop box as part of the Colorado Household Medication Take Back Program sponsored by the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention. The drug disposal drop boxes are located in the Vail municipal building, Avon public safety facility, and in the lobby of the justice center in Eagle. These law enforcement drop boxes can accept unwanted medications – including controlled substances such as codeine, valium, phenobarbital and others – during regular business hours. The year-round disposal service is free and items may be deposited anonymously with no questions asked.The Vail Pharmacy located inside Vail Health Hospital, the Edwards Pharmacy located inside the Shaw Pavilion, and the Household Hazardous Waste Facility in Wolcott also accept unwanted medications, free of charge, during regular business hours. These businesses cannot accept controlled substances as those may only be collected by law enforcement agencies.