WESTPORT — The Westport Police Department plan to take back any unwanted prescription drugs on Saturday at 180 Bayberry Lane.

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

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The event marks the 18th opportunity in nine years to prevent pill abuse and theft by giving residents the opportunity to rid their homes of potentially dangerous, expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Westport Police will collaborate with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for the event.

Westporters are asked to bring pills for disposal to the Westport-Weston Health District at 180 Bayberry Lane. The site will only accept pills or patches. Needles, sharps or liquids will not be accepted. Vape pens where the batteries can be removed, can be disposed of at the drug take back, police said, but vape pens where batteries cannot be removed will not be accepted.

According to police the service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

“Last fall Americans turned in nearly 469 tons — more than 937,000 pounds — of prescription drugs at nearly 6,300 sites operated by DEA and almost 5,000 of its state and local law enforcement partners,” police said. “Overall, in its 17 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in more than 11.8 million pounds — approximately 5,900 tons — of pills.”

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on drug Use and Health shows year after year the majority of misued and abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, police said. Medication has also reportedly been stolen from the home medicine cabinet of close relatives.

“In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing unused medicines — flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash — both pose potential safety and health hazards,” police said.

For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or the Take Back Day event, go to www.DEATakeBack.com.

dj.simmons@hearstmediact.com