Supporters of National Prescription-Drug Take-Bake Day gathered Thursday for what they called the first-ever local press conference on the topic.

The national day, which gives citizens an opportunity to safely dispose of unwanted, unused prescription drugs, is Saturday.

Representatives from the Santa Barbara County Alcohol and Drug Program, the Sheriff’s Office and Santa Barbara Police Department, along with Second District Supervisor Janet Wolf, spoke at the afternoon conference outside the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department headquarters building to let locals know the dangers of keeping the drugs and also where to get rid of them.

The rising use of prescription drugs by teens who obtain them from family and friends is especially concerning, officials said.

Standing near a drug drop-off box, Wolf thanked law enforcement for their efforts.

“I encourage everyone to take advantage of this program,” she said.

Sgt. Riley Harwood said the Santa Barbara Police Department is happy to participate in the national campaign for the first time this year.

The collection location in Santa Barbara will be at the La Cumbre Plaza Mall, 121 S. Hope Ave. Collection boxes will be set up between Starbuck’s and Marmalade Café for the free service. 

Undersheriff Jim Peterson said people who can’t make it out to Saturday’s event could also drop off prescription drugs at any sheriff’s substation at any time.

This is the fifth annual national effort spearheaded by the Drug Enforcement Administration. In all, more than 1.5 million pounds of medication have been removed from circulation.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.