Law enforcement around the state on Saturday will collect unwanted prescription pills during national drug take-back day.

Police will accept expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at facilities around the state.

This is the 10th take-back day in the last five years, Roy McKinney, director of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, said in a release. The program is designed to prevent unwanted prescription drugs from being used illegally for recreational use.

Only pills and patches will be accepted. Liquids and needles are excluded.

The service is free and anonymous with no questions asked of those dropping off drugs, according to the MDEA.

The program is part of a nationwide effort to reduce the recreational use of prescribed narcotics. Americans turned in 309 tons of prescription pills at nearly 5,500 sites last September.

Maine law enforcement collected 23,500 pounds during that same event, according to the MDEA. It was the second largest amount ever collected in Maine.

More than 4.8 million pounds of pills have been collected nationwide during the nine take-back days.

“This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue,” McKinney said. “Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse.”

There is an “alarmingly high” rate of illegal prescription drug abuse in the U.S., McKinney said. There is a correspondingly high number of accidental poisonings and overdoses. Research indicates that the majority of abused prescription drugs come from family and friends and are stored in their medicine cabinets, McKinney said.

Flushing the pills down the toilet or throwing them out with the trash pose potential safety and health hazards, he said.

Prescription drugs will be collected at the following locations in Kennebec, Somerset and Lincoln counties:

• Augusta: Augusta Police Department, 33 Union St.; Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office, 125 State St.

• Gardiner: Gardiner Police Department, 6 Church St.

• Hallowell: Hallowell Police Department, 1 Winthrop St.

• Litchfield: Litchfield Transfer Station, 2400 Hallowell Road.

• Madison: Madison Police Department, 26 Weston Ave.

• Monmouth: Monmouth Transfer Station, off Cobbosseecontee Road, just east of Prescott Road.

• Oakland: Oakland Police Department, 7 Fairfield St.

• Pittsfield: Pittsfield Police Department, 211 Somerset Ave.

• Readfield/Wayne: 14 Recycle Road, Readfield.

• Skowhegan: Skowhegan Police Department, 225 Water St.

• Somerset County Sheriff’s Office: 131 East Madison Road, Madison.

• Waterville: Waterville Police Department, 10 Colby St.

• Whitefield: Sheepscot Valley Health Center, 47 Main St.

• Winslow: Winslow Police Department Mobile Collection Site, 114 Benton Ave.

• Winthrop: Winthrop Police Department, 15 Town Hall Lane.

For more information, and a complete list of take-back locations, visit the MDEA online at maine.gov/dps/mdea.

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