Do you have old pills laying around? Thinking about just flushing them down the toilet? Don’t. The Mexico Department of Public Safety is planning a Drug Take Back from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Mexico Public Safety fire station at 300 N. Coal St.

Mexico has conducted its take backs for approximately nine years, Chief Susan Rockett said. The take back allows for the proper destruction of the drugs. “We get hundreds of pounds (of drugs),” she said. “I think that it shows the importance of not letting (drugs) lay around.”

Take backs have occurred at local levels across the country for many years, but in 2010, they became part of federal law. When communities conducted a take back before the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, they were not able to collect the most dangerous prescription drugs, known as controlled substances. Those communities would have to get special permission from the Drug Enforcement Administration and have a law enforcement officer on-site during the event.

The act allowed then-Attorney General Eric Holder to create regulations under the Controlled Substances Act that would “allow patients to deliver unused pharmaceutical controlled substances to appropriate entities for disposal in a safe and effective manner.”

Rockett said if there wasn’t this program, controlled substances and other drugs could potentially fall into the wrong hands, causing the the chance of accidental ingestion or substance abuse.

It is not recommended to dispose of controlled substances or other drugs down a drain or flushed down a toilet. According to the University of Illinois extension, chemicals in the drugs can still pass through treatment facilities and end up in streams, lakes and rivers.

The DEA holds two national Drug Take Back days each year. At this year’s April take back, 4,683 law enforcement departments participated at 5,842 collection sites, collecting 949,046 pounds, or 475.75 tons, of drugs. In Missouri, 173 law enforcement departments participated at 225 collection sites, where they collected 43,575 pounds of drugs. For more information about the event, visit https://takebackday.dea.gov/.