HERCULES -- The police department will accept expired or unwanted prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications for disposal on April 26, National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

The event, which will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Hercules City Hall parking lot, is sponsored by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in cooperation with local law enforcement agencies. It addresses an important public health issue because medicines that languish in home cabinets are susceptible to misuse and abuse, Hercules police spokeswoman Connie Van Putten said.

Moreover, Van Putten said, people sometimes flush unused medicines down the toilet or throw them in the trash -- disposal methods that present health risks and a hazard to the environment.

Hercules Reserve Police Officers will staff the drop-off location, which will be in the parking lot behind the portable offices at City Hall, 111 Civic Drive.

The program is free and anonymous, and no questions will be asked, Van Putten said. However, no illegal drugs, liquids or sharp objects are allowed.

Van Putten advised removing unwanted pills from their bottles and placing the pills in a plastic bag, or removing all personal information from the prescription bottles. Powders must be in sealed containers. Over-the-counter medications may be left in their original containers.

Additional information, including other drop-off locations, is available on the DEA website at www.dea.gov or the city's website at www.ci.hercules.ca.us.

Contact Tom Lochner at 510-262-2760. Follow him at twitter.com/tomlochner.