As part of National Drug Take Back Day, The Ellis County Drug Enforcement Unit will accept unwanted prescription drugs in several locations throughout the county from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 27.

The locations are:

• The Hays Convention and Visitors Bureau, 27th and Vine,

• The Ellis Police Department, 815 Jefferson in Ellis

• Victoria City Hall, 1005 Fourth Street in Victoria

This is the 17th time in nine years the Ellis County DEU and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration have given the public the opportunity to rid their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused or unwanted prescription drugs and prevent abuse or theft of drugs, according to a release from the sheriff’s department.

The service is free and no questions are asked. The sites cannot accept needles or sharps, only pills, patches or liquids in sealed containers.

Last fall, Americans turned in nearly 460 tons of prescription drugs at more than 5,800 sites operated by the DEA and almost 4,800 state and local law enforcement agencies, according to the release.

Drug take-back programs address several public safety and health issues, the release says. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows that most misused and abuses prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends , including someone else’s medication being stolen from the home medicine cabinet.

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

For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about the April 27 Take Back Day event, go to www.DEATakeBack.com.

Medications can also be disposed of at the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office, 105 W. 12th, MedReturn Drug Collection Unit in the lobby between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. All tablets, capsules, caplets, patches in liquids in leak-proof containers are accepted.