A program that has helped collect and safely dispose of tons of unused prescription drugs will come to an end this weekend.

The ninth and likely last National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is scheduled for Saturday. New federal regulations will allow people to take their unused prescription drugs to authorized collectors for disposal.

The federal Drug Enforcement Agency began organizing the take-back days in 2010 because federal law made no provision for people to dispose of their unwanted prescription drugs safely and legally except to give them to law enforcement officials. Pharmacies and hospitals could not accept them, according to a DEA release. Most people flushed their pills, threw them into the trash or kept them in a cabinet, which leaves them susceptible to theft.

There have been eight national take-back days over the past four years during which agencies have collected more than 2,100 tons of prescription drugs across the U.S. More than 50 tons has been collected in Maine.

The new disposal regulations authorize certain DEA registrants, such as pharmacies and hospitals with on-site pharmacies, to become authorized collectors. Collectors with an on-site means of destruction may operate a mail-back program, according to the DEA.

The DEA has the authority to organize future national take-back days, but none are planned.

Saturday’s take-back will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at more than 100 collection sites around the state Saturday, including the following in Kennebec County:

AUGUSTA

• Augusta Police Department, 33 Union St.

• Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office, 125 State St.

• Maine State Police Troop D, 36 Hospital St.

• Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 47 Independence Drive

• University of Maine Augusta, 46 University Drive

BELGRADE

• Center for All Seasons, 1 Center Drive

CHINA

• Transfer station, 191 Alder Park Road

CLINTON

• Clinton Police Department, 27 Baker St.

GARDINER

• Gardiner Police Department, 6 Church St.

HALLOWELL

• Hallowell Police Department, 1 Winthrop St.

LITCHFIELD

• Transfer station, 2274 Hallowell Road

MONMOUTH

• Transfer station, 126 Route 135

OAKLAND

• Oakland Police Department, 7 Fairfield St.

WAYNE

• Wayne/Readfield transfer station, Recycle Road

WATERVILLE

• Rite Aid, 210 Main St.

• Waterville Police Department, 1 Common St.

WINSLOW

• Rite Aid, 36 China Road

• Winslow Police Department, 114 Benton Ave. (mobile unit)

WINTHROP

• Winthrop Police Department, 15 Town Hall Lane

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