Want to get rid of those old medications?

Area residents have the chance to make their homes a little safer this weekend. The Drug Enforcement Administration is battling prescription drug abuse by hosting its fifth national drug take back event Saturday.

"It just gives people a safe way to dispose of their medications and get it out of their homes. Prescription drug abuse is a problem and a lot of times people do take it out of medicine cabinets if they're at the home visiting," QPD officer Kelly Vandermaiden explained.

Each year the DEA has collected more and more unused medications. The Quincy Police Department hosts the take back locally, but they do not monitor who takes advantage of the event.

"When people do bring their medications to us, we don't take inventory. We don't take their name down. When they come in, they drop their medications into the container on their own," Vandermaiden said.

According to Richard Cox, head pharmacist at Brown Drug, a common mistake when it comes to prescriptions is saving unused antibiotics. He cautions against hanging on to medications individuals no longer take.

Cox cautions, "You probably don't have enough of the medication to go the full course of treatment. Plus, then you're trying to self diagnose that you have the exact same illness that the antibiotic was prescribed for in the first place."

Dropping off the leftovers in pill bottles to a take-back event is the best option, as flushing medicines down the drain can also have consequences.

"It does get into our water system and they have found that there are levels of medications in the water system," Cox explained.

Anything collected at Saturday's drug take backs will be collected by the DEA and safely disposed of.

For anyone who cannot make it to the take back, Cox says Brown Drug will take back some unused medications.

For people who are unable to leave their home, Cox recommends putting unused medications in a plastic bag and throwing it away in coffee grounds or cat litter to keep anyone from taking it and to keep it from contaminating the ground.