Public-safety officials on Saturday urged area residents with expired or no-longer-needed prescription drugs to help prevent drug abuse by taking part in the third annual National Prescription Take Back Day.
Law enforcement agencies, military bases, hospitals, universities and businesses across the county will accept dropped-off medications — free of charge and no questions asked — from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
In Ramona, prescription drugs may be dropped off in the Albertsons' parking lot at 1459 Main St.
The drop-off location in Julian is the sheriff's Julian station at 2907 Washington St., Suite C. Locations of other drop-off sites in the region are at www.dea.gov.
“Getting these potentially harmful drugs off the streets of our community is an important step in decreasing prescription-drug abuse among our youth,'' said William Sherman, acting special agent in charge of the federal agency's San Diego office.
Last year, 4,731 pounds of pharmaceuticals were collected across the county, out of the roughly 309 tons of drugs gathered at 5,300 locations nationwide, the DEA reported.
According to law enforcement officials, prescription drugs are a substantial and growing problem, since they frequently fall into the hands of recreational users — many of them minors taking the narcotics from their unsuspecting parents — or are improperly discarded, posing public health risks.