ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - It is a new front on the war on drugs -- right here in St. Louis and in your home; specifically, your medicine cabinet.
Police say old medicines have become "gateway" drugs to narcotics, like heroin.
Saturday was a day to do something about it.
More than 1.5 million pounds, nearly 800 tons, had been collected at 5 previous DEA, National Drug Take Back Days, which began in 1010.
Ladue Pharmacy was one of more than 60 of an estimated 5700 drop off sites around the country. People dropped loads of ammunition from a front in the war on drugs, most didn`t know existed.
'It`s a relief. I`m glad to get it out of my house," said Rose Midkiff.
The medications she dropped off were from as far back as 6 years ago.
"We take back absolutely everything. It`s completely anonymous. So, people can empty their medicine cabinets whether it`s prescription drug or an over the counter medication," said pharmacist, Rick Williams.
Police said opiates, in particular, had substitutes for, or gateways to, narcotics like heroin, now plaguing the St. Louis area.
Authorities even had to stand guard at each drop off site to keep anyone from stealing what would be old medicines to you, but valuable 'controlled substances' in the wrong hands.
"Burglars, when they burglarize a house, that`s one of the first places they look, is the medicine cabinet, looking for controlled substances," said Ladue Police Officer, Rick Bonney.
"There`s been lots of incidents where people have acquired drugs by going through medicine cabinets," Williams said.
Authorities said old medications were also common sources of accidental poisoning; throwing them in the garbage or flushing them could contaminate water supplies.
'It is good. I didn`t want to dump them in the trash or in the toilet like a lot of people do. I just wanted to take them to a safe place to get rid of them,' Midkiff said.
It was a "no questions asked program". No one was going to looking at the medicines or what you might have been taking. It was just drop and go.
If you missed it, round your old medications and stash them in a safe place until you can drop them off at the next DEA drug take back in the Spring.
The drugs collected are taken to an incinerator.
Follow me: on Twitter@andybankertv