The next prescription drug takeback day is set for Saturday, Oct. 26, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. During that window, residents will have an opportunity to rid their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs.

Bring any pills for disposal to Fountain Hills Town Hall, located at 16705 E. Avenue of the Fountains. Liquids, needles or sharps are not allowed to be turned in, only pills or patches. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked. For those dropping off pills, the preferred method is for participants to pour their pills into a Ziploc bag and head to the drop-off point.

According to organizers, this initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse.

Rates of prescription drug abuse in Arizona are notably high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Arizonans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines – flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash – both pose potential safety and health hazards.

For more information about preventing prescription drug abuse, go to fhcoalition.org. For those unable to make it to the official event, a permanent drop-off box for prescription drugs is located near the MCSO office within the Fountain Hills Community Center and can be accessed year-round during normal business hours.

MCSO reports that 31 pounds of prescription drugs were dropped off in the permanent box in August, with 51 pounds dropped off in September. The higher numbers are a sign that winter residents are returning to town and, by the looks of things, cleaning out their medicine cabinets.