YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — National Drug Take Back Day is back this Saturday, offering the community an opportunity to safely dispose of unused or expired medication.

The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications. Experts caution that unwanted or expired medications should never be flushed, as it is harmful to the environment.

It takes place twice a year: once in the spring and again in the fall. The spring takeback date was April 22, 2023.

While it is a nationwide initiative, the day is made possible locally through the partnership of area police in addition to municipal and health care organizations.

Mercy Health Youngstown offers access to a medication drop box 24 hours a day, seven days a week in the Emergency Department waiting room at Mercy Health St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital, Mercy Health St. Joseph Warren Hospital and Mercy Health St. Elizabeth Boardman Hospital.

Accepted medications include vitamins, pills and pet medications. Mercy Health said it cannot accept needles, inhalers, liquids, lotions, aerosols, ointments or creams. Items left in the receptacles are kept secure and confidential. Some patients may prefer to remove the label, though it is not required to use the drop boxes.

Meijer Pharmacies is also taking part in the initiative Saturday, accepting medications at both the Boardman and Howland locations. Meijer began its program in February 2019 and has since collected more than 18 tons of medication from its Ohio pharmacies.

In addition to Mercy Health, many local police departments have prescription collection boxes available for use year-round. If you’re not able to make National Take Back Day, call the non-emergency office line of your local department to inquire about availability.