Local law enforcement is giving the community a chance to get rid of their unused medication in a safe way on Saturday.

The La Grande Police Department, Union County Safe Communities Coalition and Union County District Attorney’s office are joining the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in the April 28 National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

More than 910,000 pounds of medications were removed nationally in October 2017 Take Back Day. In Oregon, Idaho, Washington and Alaska, 35,000 pounds of unwanted medication was turned in.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, the drop-off box in Union County will be outside the police station, 1109 K Ave., La Grande. While there will be police officers at the event, the officers will not ask any questions.

“We will protect the anonymity of everyone turning in medication,” said LGPD Sgt. Jason Hays.

Hays said they would prefer the medication be dropped off in their original containers, but as long as there is some sort of packaging with the drug, they will be accepted.

National Drug Take Back Day aims to help prevent prescription drug abuse and theft by ridding homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused or unwanted medication, according to a LGPD press release.

The opioid crisis in Oregon is getting worse, and events such as this may make a difference.

“Pills are addictive and they have street value,” Hays said.

He said some opioids are being sold for $1 per milligram.

“If they get into the wrong hands, then people will sell them illegally,” he said. “(This event) is to protect (the community from the medication being sold illegally) and also to dispose of them (properly) to avoid harming the environment.”

See complete story in Wednesday's Observer