KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Drug Enforcement Agency estimates six million Americans have misused prescription drugs.
That's why twice a year, it encourages you to clean out the medicine cabinet and toss unused or expired pills. The next one is happening this Saturday.
Several police departments and other places in the community have drug take back boxes that are available all year. But National Drug Take Back Day is really an important opportunity to spread awareness about the issue of prescription pill abuse.
"It is on the rise just as it is across the United States. We continually see a growth in opioid overdoses and drug overdoses and deaths that come from that, specifically with younger people," said Michelle Irwin, community outreach specialist with First Call KC.
That's what makes National Drug Take Back Day so critical. It's a reminder to get rid of any medications you don't need.
"I do hear stories of whether it's grandkids or friends of someone's children. You just never know what's going on in someone's life that might lead to them becoming desperate and doing something like that. So we'll just take it out of the equation," said Officer Richard Spandle with the Overland Park Police Department.
Drug Take Back Day is completely anonymous. Medicines are put into a sealed box, then taken to the DEA where they are incinerated.
Proper disposal is one of two important steps to help prevent others from taking or abusing medications.
"If you have small children or young teens in the house, lock them. Lock them up because some people really do have to take these and they really do work. But if you don't, don't have them out and about, then lock them up properly," Irwin said.
Dozens of agencies all across Missouri and Kansas are participating in Drug Take Back Day. You can enter your zip code and find a drop off location near you here.
During the most recent Drug Take Back Day, more than 4,700 law enforcement agencies participated, collecting close to a million pounds of medications.