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Marshall University School of Pharmacy student Francis Wright displays a bag of discarded pills as United Way of the River Cities’ Prevention Empowerment Partnership conducts a National Prescription Drug Take Back Day event on April 24, 2021, in Huntington.

HUNTINGTON — Several locations will be set up Saturday throughout West Virginia and Kentucky to take back residents’ unused medication as part of a biannual event to fight drug abuse.

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day was created more than a decade ago to create an easy way for Americans to get rid of unneeded medications without tainting water supply or making their house a target.

Over the years, more than 7,000 tons of medication has been turned over. Last year, Americans turned in nearly 420 tons (839,543 pounds) of prescription drugs at 5,060 sites operated by the DEA and 4,425 of its state and local law enforcement partners.

According to a report published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a majority of people who misused prescription medication obtained the medicine from a family member or friend.

More than 93,000 people died of drug overdoses last year, 75% of which were opioid-related, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, which is an increase of about 30% from the previous year.

“One thing is clear: Prevention starts at home,” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said. “I urge Americans to do their part to prevent prescription pill misuse: Simply take your unneeded medications to a local collection site. It’s simple, free, anonymous, and it can save a life.”

The sites will collect tablets, capsules, patches and other solid forms of prescription drugs, as well as vaping devices and cartridges. Liquids, syringes, other sharps and illicit drugs will not be accepted.

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

Take Back sites will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23, at the Huntington Walgreens, 111 4th Ave., the Huntington West Virginia State Police Detachment, Drug Emporium in Barboursville and the Ceredo Police Department.

At the Walgreens and Drug Emporium locations, the Prevention Empowerment Partnership will also distribute Deterra bags to safely dispose of medication at home in between Drug Take Back days.

In Boyd County, the Ashland Police Department and Kentucky State Police Post 14 will participate.

Other locations can be found at

Courtney Hessler is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch, covering police and courts. Follow her on and via Twitter @HesslerHD.

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