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WATSEKA — On Saturday, Oct. 26, the Iroquois County Sheriff’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration will give the public its 18th opportunity in nine years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs.

On National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, prescription drugs — with the exception of liquids or sharps — can be dropped off at the Iroquois County Jail’s west door at 550 S. 10th St. in Watseka between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The service is free and anonymous, with no questions asked.

Last spring, Americans turned in more than 468 tons (937,443 pounds) of prescription drugs at a total of 6,258 sites with 4,969 of the sites partnered with state and local law enforcement departments. Overall, in its 17 previous Take Back Day events, the DEA and its partners have taken in 11,816,393 million pounds — nearly 6,000 tons — of pills.

The initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are 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.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows year after year that the majority of misused and abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including someone else’s medication being stolen 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.

For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about the Oct. 26 Take Back Day event, people can visit https://takebackday.dea.gov or contact investigator Clint Perzee at 815-432-6992.