INGLEWOOD, Calif. (KABC) -- Nearly 10 million people misused prescription pain relievers in 2019, according to a 2019 national survey on drug use and health.
"A lot of times, the abuse of legitimate prescription drugs starts in the home with leftover medicines," said Special Agent Bill Bodner who is in charge of the Los Angles Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Agency.
Bodner said this is why DEA RX Take Back Day is so important.
"We work with community partners to set up locations throughout the city," Bodner said. "And it's no questions asked, we set up drop locations where you can take your ... unused prescription drugs to a community location,"
Inglewood community organizer for the Asian American Drug Abuse Program, Marlon Pascual, has been working to get the word out about takeback day. He wants to make sure Inglewood residents know where and how to dispose of their unused prescription drugs properly.
"[I] try to get it out there to the community and let them know there's permanent drop off sites in Inglewood, and you can access them year-round," Pascual said. "And it doesn't matter if we're in a pandemic or not."
Special Agent Bodner said in just the L.A. area, the DEA collects about 9,000 to 10,000 pounds of prescription drugs twice a year during these take-back events. But he said not all those drugs are highly addictive.
"It could be something like a penicillin or a prescription strength anti-inflammatory drug, Ibuprofen," Bodner said. "We'll take everything but mixed in there, there are the dangerous, especially opiate drugs that we need to get out of the homes."
Officials said not only is it important to dispose of the unused prescription drugs, but it's also important to do it safely.
"We put them in the trash, that can be access to some other people," Pascual said. "You flush them down the toilet that harms the environment."
To find a drop-off location near you click here.