PARKERSBURG - People can bring their unused medications to drop-off points in the area Saturday as part of the federal Prescription Drug Take-Back event.
The event is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The initative, which was started in September 2010, has removed more than 11 tons of unwanted prescription drugs from homes and medicine cabinets in the Mountain State, and more than 1,409 tons nationwide, said U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin in Charleston.
"When we started this event in 2010, we didn't know what to expect," Goodwin said. "We saw the need for a place to dispose of unwanted prescription drugs, but the response was hard to predict.
''In the three years since, West Virginians and Americans have stepped up beyond our wildest expectations. Through these take-back events, tens of thousands of West Virginians are doing their part to fight prescription drug abuse - our state's worst crime problem."
Painkillers are the biggest group of prescription drugs being abused, officials said.
Of prescription drug abuse, 70 percent comes from friends and family and out of the family medicine cabinet.
''We know that children are frequently using and often abusing pills they find in the home,'' said Sgt. Greg Collins of the Parkersburg Police Department. ''We are also seeing kids take pills to school and give or sell them to other children.
''This is happening with kids that are in their early teens. It happens far more often than people know. If we can get these pills out of the home and dispose of them properly, we can head off far bigger issues," Collins said.
With the availability of prescription drugs, the U.S. Attorney's office said it has been prosecuting doctors who run pill mills and people who smuggle prescription drugs across state lines. The office is also educating young people.
People looking for prescription drugs make up the majority of property crimes committed in the state, officials said. In many cases, they are more readily available than illegal drugs.
On Saturday, West Virginians can drop off their unwanted prescription drugs at more than 130 drop-off locations statewide, including police stations, designated shopping centers and pharmacies. At all locations, drop-offs are accepted with no questions asked, organizers said.
Officials at the West Virginia State Police Detachment at 3828 Staunton Ave., Parkersburg, said someone would be available throughout the day Saturday to take the old unused medications.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration Office of Diversion Control's website, the other drop-off location for Wood County is the CVS Pharmacy at 2312 Murdoch Ave. in Parkersburg.
In Wirt County, the designated drop-off point is at the Wirt County Courthouse, according to the website.
In Pleasants County, the listed drop-off point is Phillips Pharmacy at 329 Second St. in St. Marys.
In Roane County, the listed drop-off point is the West Virginia State Police Detachment at 100 Triplett Road in Spencer.
In Ritchie County, the listed drop-off places are Pennsboro Family Pharmacy at 401-A West Myles Ave. in Pennsboro, Rite Aid Pharmacy at 1490 East Main St. in Harrisville, Hometown Pharmacy at 1607 East Main St. in Harrisville and the Ritchie County Sheriff's Department at 109 East North St. in Harrisville.
In Jackson County, the listed drop-off places are the Big Lots store on Washington Street in Ravenswood, Ripley City Hall at 203 South Church St. in Ripley and Kenna Volunteer Fire Department on Pleasant Valley Road in Kenna.
In Washington County, the listed drop-off places are at the corner of Second and Putnam streets in Marietta, the Devola Medical Center parking lot at 4727 Ohio 60 in Marietta, the Buckeye Hills Area Agency on Aging parking lot at 1400 Newport Pike in Reno, the Belpre Senior Center parking lot at 1614 Washington Blvd. in Belpre, White Oak Pharmacy at 8465 Ohio 339 in Barlow, Fort Frye High School parking lot at 420 Fifth St. in Beverly and Hardware Components Inc. at 1021 Park Ave. in New Matamoras.