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SALT LAKE CITY -- The Drug Enforcement Administration has teamed up with local government and law enforcement agencies in an effort to prevent prescription drug abuse and theft in Utah.
Officials launched the Take Back Initiative Thursday. It gives Utahns a way to get rid of expired and unwanted prescription drugs safely. DEA officials say old or unused prescription medications could be dangerous if kept in the home.
"Majority of teens who had pharmaceutical abuse, the majority came out of their own medicine cabinet at home," said Frank Smith, DEA special agent in charge.
This is a chance for everybody here, citizens of the state of Utah, to really help us in combating the source of this problem.
–Attorney General Mark Shurtleff
The DEA will collect potentially-dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs for destruction at 27 sites statewide on Saturday. The service is free and anonymous.
"This is a chance for everybody here, citizens of the state of Utah, to really help us in combating the source of this problem," said Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff.
Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank says prescription drug abuse is a growing trend among Utah's youth.
"We have a problem with prescription drugs ending up in the hands of our young people," he said. "This is an avenue to prevent that."
Shurtleff says too often, people throw away prescriptions or flush them down the toilet -- presenting potential health and safety hazards.
"People need to know there is a way to dispose of these properly, efficiently, safely and legally," he said. "That they don't get pulled by someone with a bunch of prescription drugs in the back of their car and someone thinks they are transporting illicit drugs."
The drop-off locations will accept prescription drugs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
CLICK HERE to find a prescription drug drop-off location near you.