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Here’s an opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding your home of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs: On Saturday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., pills and patches can be dropped off for disposal at Lutheran Medical Center’s main entrance at 8300 W. 38th Ave., Wheat Ridge. Liquids, needles or sharps cannot be accepted. The service is free and anonymous. No questions will be asked.

Presented by Wheat Ridge Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration, 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,” said Wheat Ridge Police Chief Dan Brennan. “We are proud to work with the DEA to bring this important event to our community twice a year to help keep out-of-date and unused medications from being misused and from contaminating our water system.”

Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, flushing unused medications down the toilet or throwing them in the trash pose potential safety and health hazards.

Last April, Americans turned in 447 tons (over 893,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at almost 5,400 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,200 of its state and local law enforcement partners.