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CLEVELAND -- If your medicine cabinet has unused medications now is the time to dispose of them properly and safely.

The Drug Enforcement Administration, in partnership with state and local law enforcement agencies, Drug Awareness and Prevention Inc., county Boards of Health, and local action groups has organized a joint event: Operation Medicine Cabinet (OMC) and the DEA's National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

The event will occur on Saturday, April 27, 2013 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at locations throughout northeast Ohio.

To find a location near you, clickHERE or call 800.882.9539.

Thegoal is to help residents in northeast Ohio safely dispose of any outdated or unwanted prescription medications. Last September, the event collected over 9,000 pounds of unwanted or expired medications.

This completely confidential program will allow adult family members to visit any listed location, where law enforcement officers will collect and hold all medications. After the medications are collected, they will be weighed by the Drug Enforcement Administration before they are destroyed.

"Many teens believe that using medications prescribed by a doctor to another family member is a safe way to get high. They are wrong. Addiction to opiate-based pain pills such as Codeine, Oxycontin, Vicodin, and Percocet has caused a huge increase in addiction to heroin," warned Nancy Pommerening, the director of Drug Awareness and Prevention Inc.

"Heroin is the cheaper, street-drug form of opiate-based prescription medicines."

For the last five years, accidental drug overdose has been the leading cause of injury death in Ohio, surpassing motor vehicle crashes and suicide. Medicine cabinets across Ohio are the primary source of abused prescription drugs.

"I have too often seen the devastating effects on our young people who are abusing pharmaceutical medications. OMC affords us a proactive opportunity to not only dispose of these very dangerous unused drugs safely, but also to educate our residents of the seriousness of this issue," said Special Agent in Charge Jeff Capretto of the Westshore Enforcement Bureau Drug Task Force.

"Flushing unused or expired medications into the sewer system is the least desirable way to dispose of any drug,"stated Scott Broski, Manager of Water Quality & Industrial Surveillance for the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District.

"If you flush them down the drain or toilet, some of the pharmaceuticals will be discharged into the lake or river because the wastewater treatment plants are not designed to remove or destroy pharmaceuticals from wastewater. The resulting environmental issues could be as varied and diverse as the number of medications in use."

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