HERCULES -- On national "Take Back" Day, April 27, the city and its police department invite residents to bring in for safe disposal all their expired or unwanted prescription drugs and over-the-counter medication.

The event, which will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., is part of a nationwide program sponsored by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in cooperation with local law enforcement agencies.

Medicines that languish in home cabinets are susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse, Hercules Police spokeswoman Connie Van Putten said in a news release. Moreover, 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, Van Putten noted.

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 are allowed to be disposed of at the event.

She advises removing unwanted pills from their bottles and putting them in a plastic bag. She also advises removing all personal information from the bottles. Liquids and powders must be in a sealed container. Over-the-counter medications may be left in their original containers.

The DEA will supply the drop boxes and take charge of disposal of the drugs. The city will not incur any cost.

For additional information, including other drop-off locations, visit 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 or tlochner@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him at twitter.com/tomlochner