- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 13, 2010

WASHINGTON (AP) - States and private entities can now create prescription drug take-back programs to help people safely dispose of old or unwanted medicine.

President Barack Obama signed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act on Tuesday.

The new law clears the way for more programs to collect and dispose of prescription drugs. Previously, it was illegal to turn over controlled substances to anyone but law enforcement.

In the past, unused prescription medications have been thrown in the trash, where drug-seeking criminals might find them, or flushed down the toilet, which can pollute the water supply.

A recent nationwide take-back day, organized by the Drug Enforcement Administration, collected more than 121 tons of medicine.

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