National Expired Prescription Drug Take Back Day will be celebrated on Oct. 26.

It's an opportunity for everyone to clean out your expired medications.

Local collection sites are:

Ÿ Summit Hill Police Department - 40 W. Amidon St., Summit Hill.

Ÿ Schuylkill County Sheriff Department - 320 Broad St., Tamaqua.

Ÿ Slatington Police Department - 125 S. Walnut St., Slatington.

One in six teenagers have used a prescription drug to get high or change their mood, and 44 percent of teens have at least one friend who abuses prescription drugs, according to a recent report by the Medicine Abuse Project.

The same organization reports that more Americans die each year from drug overdoses than car crashes - a tragic trend that's increasingly driven by the abuse of prescription pain killers.

In light of these startling statistics, Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania is once again supporting the Drug Enforcement Administration's National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, Oct. 26, in an effort to help prevent medication abuse and rid homes of unwanted and unnecessary prescription drugs.

"Taking medications after they expire is ineffective and may even be dangerous," said Dr. Nina Taggart, BCNEPA's vice president of clinical operations and chief medical officer. "In addition, unused medications that are kept around the house may invite prescription drug abuse."

Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet. Furthermore, the usual methods of disposing of unused medicines - flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash – can pose significant safety, health and environmental hazards.

"That's why BCNEPA is helping to raise awareness of National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, because it's a convenient and responsible way to dispose of expired and unused drugs," said Dr. Taggart.

The DEA and local law enforcement agencies will have more than 30 locations available across northeastern and north central Pennsylvania on Saturday, Oct. 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the public to drop off unwanted prescription drugs. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

The Oct, 26 event will be the seventh DEA National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day; the first event took place in September 2010. The first six events collectively removed more than 2.5 million pounds of unwanted and expired medications from circulation.