CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The opportunity to get rid of unneeded, unused, or expired prescription medications is here again for the first time this year.

As local and state law enforcement agencies, substance use prevention organizations get ready to team up to host Drug Take Back Day this Saturday, April 27, health officials area laying out why such a move is important for people’s health and safety.

State Health Officer Dr. Matthew Christiansen with the Department of Health told MetroNews that ridding the home space of those old medications helps prevent medication misuse, which contributes to the ongoing substance use crisis and drug overdose epidemic, and it keeps them from falling into the wrong hands.

Dr. Matthew Christiansen

“The most important thing is really making sure that family members, kids, even pets, who sometimes get a hold of bottles of pills that could be controlled substances or other dangerous medications not intended for those individuals and can really cause harm when consumed by the unintended recipient, does not do so,” Christiansen said.

Christiansen said Substance Use Disorder can affect anyone.

He said one of the worst case scenarios that comes out of leaving those unused pill bottles lying around is having loved ones pick them and use them, whether intentionally or unintentionally, and contributes to the cause of addiction or worsens their addiction symptoms.

He adds that prescription pills, specifically opioids, benzodiazepines, and stimulants can all be misused and can contribute to the ongoing crisis.

However, Christiansen said overtime, health experts have noticed that opioid prescriptions have declined, and he said it’s events like Drug Take Back that can help further dispose of them for good.

“We’re hopeful that as people get the messages about these Drug Take Back Days, that if they do have, specifically opioids, benzodiazepines, stimulants or other controlled substances in their pill cabinets, they use these opportunities to make sure that their families and friends are safe,” he said.

The Drug Enforcement Administration partners with law enforcement agencies nationwide for National Drug Take Back Day which they host on the last Saturdays in April and October.

Christiansen said he recommends taking the medications to a Drug Take Back event so they can be properly disposed of through the DEA rather than trying to dispose of them on one’s own by flushing them down the toilet or throwing them away in the garbage.

He said the twice-a-year event gives people the opportunity to be safe rather than sorry.

“Most importantly, make sure they’re out of your pill box or out of your medicine cabinet and are not at risk of causing addiction or substance use in your loved ones,” Christiansen said.

There’s a number of Drug Take Back locations that will be set up across the state Saturday.

You can visit DEA/ Drug Take Back, enter your location on the Collection Site Locator tool on the webpage, and find a location near you that will be conducting an event.

Most locations will be collecting tablets, capsules, patches and other solid forms of prescription drugs, and will not accept syringes, sharps or illicit drugs. Liquid products such as cough syrups should remain tightly sealed in their original container.

In Kanawha County, the Kanawha County Sheriffs Office will host their’s annonoumsly at five KSCO detatchements including:

. Elkview — 1078 Main Street

. Sissonville — 6817 1/2 Sissonville Drive

. Quincy — 2700 E. Dupont Avenue

. Cross Lanes — 903 Cross Lanes Drive

. Saint Albans — 6809 Ohio Avenue

The Charleston Police Department will have six locations set up for the event at the following places:

. Walgreens — 655 Washington Street West

. Drug Emporium — 1603 Kanawha Boulevard W.

. WV Drug Intervention Institute — 118 Capital Street

. Piggly Wiggly — 5003 MacCorkle Avenue S.E.

. Fruth Pharmacy — 864 Oakwood Road

. Krogers Ashton Place — 1100 Fledderjohn Road