This is a free, no questions asked effort to collect unneeded prescription and over the counter medicines.

Having outdated or unneeded medications around the house can be dangerous, since studies show that abused prescription drugs are typically obtained from family and friends.

But common methods for disposing of unused medicines – including flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash – pose safety and health hazards.

To help area residents safely discard their unused medications, the Dover Police Department is once again teaming up with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for this year’s Take Back Initiative.

Area residents will be able to dispose of their prescription drugs at the Dover Police Department headquarters at 400 S. Queen St. between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22.

Other Take Back Initiatives are planned throughout Kent County, including at Dover Air Force Base, the Cheswold Police Department, the Camden Police Department, Delaware State Police Troop 3 in Camden, and in Smyrna at Atlantic Apothecary at 103 S. DuPont Boulevard (U.S. Route 13) at South Street.

The free and anonymous service only will take unneeded prescription and over the counter medications. Liquids, syringes and sharpies will not be accepted.

The abuse of prescription drugs ranks second only to marijuana as the most common form of drug abuse in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly 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 due to these drugs. Studies show a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including 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.

More than 38,000 people died of a drug overdose in 2010. Of those, 60 percent involved the use of pharmaceutical drugs, according to a 2013 report.

The DEA first created the Take Back Initiative program in 2010. It is now a twice-a-year, nationwide event.

For more information, or to find disposal sites outside Kent County, visit dea.gov.