A collection of unwanted and outdated prescription drugs will take place Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Westport Town Hall, 110 Myrtle Ave.

Westport police, in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration, will collect the unwanted medications free of charge and no questions asked. The program, which is carried out nationally, is designed to help prevent drugs from falling into the wrong hands, as well as to stop the abuse of potentially dangerous medications.

Last April, 552,161 pounds -- or 276 tons -- of prescription drugs were collected at more than 5,600 sites operated by the DEA with nearly 4,300 state and local law-enforcement partners, according to a press release from the law-enforcement agencies.

Medicines left unused can be susceptible to abuse, misuse and diversion to others, according to the release. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are "alarmingly high," they said, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses caused by those drugs.

Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends.

In addition, the methods often used to dispose of unused medicines -- flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash -- both pose potential safety and health hazards.