MECOSTA, OSCEOLA, LAKE COUNTIES — Area residents have an opportunity to safely dispose of their expired, unused and unwanted prescription medications with the help of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies next weekend.

The Michigan State Police is partnering with the Drug Enforcement Administration and other police departments across the state for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, Oct. 26.

During the event, people can bring their prescription medications to any MSP post between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

MSP public information officer Lt. David Cope said the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day initiative aims to prevent drug addiction and abuse by taking medications out of circulation.

"Prescription drugs and opioid abuse is a problem, not just in Michigan, but throughout the country, and this ensures there isn't a chance they fall into the hands of someone they are not intended for," Cope said.

He said during the last take back event, in April 2019, the 30 MSP posts across the state collected 1,184 pounds of prescription medications.

Cope added it is important people do not try to dispose of expired or unused prescription medications by flushing them or throwing them away, as this could lead to environmental or health concerns.

"We will dispose of them safely for you," he said.

While they national drug take back day is scheduled for Saturday, Cope explained the MSP posts have collection bins set up inside their offices year round which people can use to dispose of medications between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

In addition to the MSP, several local police departments also have secure drop-boxes for medications year round, including:

• Big Rapids Department of Public Safety, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Big Rapids;

• Mecosta County Sheriff's Office, 225 S. Stewart Ave., Big Rapids;

• Ferris State University Department of Public Safety, 1319 Cramer Circle, Big Rapids;

• Reed City Police Department, 227 E. Lincoln Ave., Reed City;

• Osceola County Sheriff's Office, 325 W. Upton Ave., Reed City;

• Evart Police Department, 137 N. River St.; and

• Lake County Sheriff's Office, 1153 Michigan Ave., Baldwin.

Items not accepted during the prescription drug take back event include liquids, patches, inhalers and syringes.