CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — National Drug Take Back Day is in full swing, as agencies across the nation seek to provide safe, convenient and responsible ways to dispose of expired and unwanted medication.

Chesterfield County Police, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and other partnering agencies held a medicine take-back event in Midlothian for community members to safely discard medication.

“We’re all here to try to get the medication and get it disposed of safely,” said Corporal Matt Rogers of the Chesterfield County Police Department. “We hand out drug information [and] safety information to try to prevent overdoses [and] try to give you resources as well.”

The DEA said unused or expired prescription medication are a public safety issue which can lead to potential accidental poisoning, misuse and overdose.

The safe disposal of drugs aids both people and the environment. Many officials advise not to flush medicine down the toilet, as it can lead to drug residue entering into rivers, lakes and community drinking supplies.

The DEA holds two drug take-backs a year — during the fall and spring seasons.

Those unable to attend these events can either dispose unwanted medication in a drop box at a local police department or throw them away in the trash with these specific instructions, according to the DEA:

  1. Remove the medicine from its original container and mix it with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter.
  2. Place the mixture in a sealable bag, empty bag, or other container to prevent medicine from leaking or breaking out of a garbage bag.

In addition, the DEA says there are opportunities to safely discard unneeded medications at nearly 16,500 pharmacies, hospitals and businesses. Anyone interested in finding out which locations offer medication disposal can visit the DEA’s website.