National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 28, at multiple sites across Maine and around the country.

In Waldo County, Unity will take back drugs a day earlier, on Friday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Unity Community Center.

On Saturday, area residents can drop off unwanted drugs between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Belfast Police Department, 112 Church St.; at the Waldo County Sheriff's Office, 45 Congress St., Belfast; and at the Searsport Police Department, Dan Rich Public Safety Building.

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposing prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.

At a previous Take-Back Event Oct. 28, 2017, federal, state and local government entities took back a record 912,305 pounds of unused, expired, or unwanted drugs at more than 5,300 locations across the United States.

Over the course of the program, approximately 456 tons of prescription drugs have been safely collected across the country, including nearly 21 tons of unwanted medications in Maine alone.

“In addition to posing serious health and safety hazards, the unused prescription drugs that collect in our homes can create unintended gateways to addiction, fueling the growing heroin and opioid crisis,” Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King said in a joint statement. “Following a record collection last fall, we are confident that Mainers will continue to lead efforts to protect their children, their homes, and our environment from the abuse and improper handling of unused prescription drugs by participating in this program.”

Federal regulations allow pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, and other authorized collectors to serve as collection points for unused prescription medication. In 2014, following a bipartisan effort led by Collins and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., the Department of Justice granted the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs the ability to participate in prescription drug take-back programs at DoD and VA facilities. This initiative has helped to address the role of prescription drug abuse in many military and veteran suicides.

Collins introduced the Safe Disposal of Unused Medication Act of 2018 this month, bipartisan legislation to address the problem of unused prescription drugs when a patient is receiving hospice care at home. This legislation would permit hospice staff or emergency medical service professionals to safely dispose of controlled substances when a patient dies or a medication expires.