Central Texas police and sheriff’s departments are accepting residents’ expired and unneeded prescription medications this week as part of a national “take-back” initiative.

The Drug Enforcement Administration scheduled its National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, but departments such as Killeen and Copperas Cove have expanded their participation to last all week.

Residents may bring items to local drop-sites where they will be collected anonymously and with no questions asked, according to a news release from the Copperas Cove Police Department.

“Prescription drug abuse is a rising issue in the nation and I feel this is a great initiative in an attempt to curve the availability of prescription medications in circulation,” said Cove Police Chief Tim Molnes in a statement.

Last year, CCPD collected two large garbage bags full of expired and unused prescriptions, said Sgt. Joaquin Salazar.

According to a news release from the Killeen Police Department, the take-back initiative addresses “a vital public safety and public health issue.”

“Medicines that lay unused in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse,” the release stated. “The rate of prescription drug abuse in the United States are alarmingly high — more Americans abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, hallucinogens and heroin combined, according to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.”

Departments will accept drop-offs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. The drugs will be stored until Monday, when someone from the DEA will pick them up for disposal.

For more information about the take-back initiative, where to drop off expired medications or to learn about disposing of prescription drugs, go to www.dea.gov and click the “Got Drugs?” link.

Contact Audrey Spencer at aspencer@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7476

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