NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Hundreds of thousands of pounds of prescription drugs are collected each year nationwide during the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) Take Back Day.

“With surging numbers of overdose deaths in Tennessee, removing unused medication from the home can help reduce the temptation of young people to experiment with opioids. From fake pressed pills to other substances containing fentanyl, it’s never been more important for parents to and talk to their children about the dangers of misusing medications,” said Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) Commissioner Marie Williams, LCSW, in a press release.

By the end of the DEA’s 23rd Take Back Day, which was in October 2022, officials said law enforcement agencies across the country collected 647,163 pounds of prescription drugs, bringing the total weight collected since the program started in 2010 to 16,636,729 pounds.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) and TDMHSAS are encouraging Tennesseans to take part in the event by collecting unused, expired prescription drugs and dropping them off at a safe location.

“Gathering up and cleaning out medications that you’re no longer taking is the easiest way we all can prevent addiction in our communities and in our homes,” Williams said.

The service is offered up freely and anonymously from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 22 at most locations, with no questions asked. Only pills or patches will be accepted.

“It promotes the disposal of unused drugs from the home, and it is good for the environment, keeping drugs out of our waterways which is where they can end up otherwise. We hope Tennesseans will take part in this important opportunity,” said TDEC Commissioner David Salyers in a press release.

To see where a National Prescription Drug Take Back Day event is happening near you, click on this link.

Meanwhile, Tennessee offers permanent dropoff locations year-round at almost 400 collection sites. You can find that list at this link.

Free and confidential referrals to addiction treatment services are available anytime through the Tennessee REDLINE.  Just call or text 800-889-9789.