EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Communities across the country emptied their medicine cabinets to get rid of old, unwanted and expired medicine on Saturday, Oct. 28 during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

Nationwide, the Drug Enforcement Administration and its law-enforcement partners collected 599,897 pounds of unneeded medications at 4,675 collection sites nationwide.

Locally, the El Paso Division collected 4,409 pounds from various sites in El Paso, Midland, Alpine, Las Cruces, Albuquerque, and New Mexico Tribal Lands, according to a news release sent out by the DEA.

For more than a decade, DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day has removed almost 17.9 million pounds of unneeded medication from communities across the country. According to a report published by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a majority of people who use prescription medication for a “nonmedical purpose” obtained that medicine from a family member or friend.

Removing unnecessary medications from the home can help prevent situations involving: not taking medication as intended or dosed; taking someone else’s prescription; and taking the medicine for euphoric effects rather than medicinal purposes, according to the press release.

“Take Back Day is an important event for DEA, and these results demonstrate that it’s an important event for our communities as well,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Eric Castañeda. “We thank everyone who helped us make our communities safer and healthier by safely disposing unwanted or expired medications.”

The DEA continues to expand opportunities to make safe disposal of medications more accessible nationwide, according to the news release.

“We encourage people to remove unnecessary medications from their home regularly and dispose of it at one of the nearly 17,000 permanent drug-drop boxes located in communities across the country,” according to the news release.

Those locations can be found here. Safe medication disposal receptacles along with DEA Take Back events provide families easy, no-cost opportunities to get rid of unnecessary medicines stored in the home, according to the news release.

Complete results for DEA’s Fall National Prescription Drug Take Back Day are available at Take Back Day (dea.gov).