EL PASO, Texas - Improper use of prescription drugs in the U.S. is rampant. The Drug Enforcement Administration estimates that more Americans abuse prescription medication than heroin, cocaine and hallucinogens combined.
It's that fact that fuels RX Take Back Day, an event created by the DEA to encourage Americans to go through their medicine cabinets for any old or unused medications and drop them off with DEA agents for proper disposal.
While RX Take Back Day is typically Sept. 29, the El Paso Veterans Affairs office is holding a collection day Friday in anticipation of big crowds.
"I think people don't know how to dispose of them properly," said Gail Ziegler, the spokeswoman for the El Paso VA. "So the DEA offers these drug take-back days which are a great way to safely dispose of the medications."
According to the DEA, Americans participating the first four Take-Back Days turned in nearly 1.6 million pounds of prescription drugs. In 2011, the DEA collected more than double the pills as their first event.
Collection sites are open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at 5001 N. Piedras Drive and at Fort Bliss at Freedom Crossing mall and the commissary. The service is free and anonymous.