NEW BEDFORD — The abuse of unused prescription drugs are one of the leading causes of opioid and other drug addictions in the country. Whether it's forgetting to clean out the medicine cabinet or taking the remainder of a prescription that's no-longer needed, the accessibility of these unused drugs in a household pushes some towards abuse.

The NBPD joined police departments across the country in the 15th annual Drug Take Back Day on Saturday. The event, sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration, calls for a responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs while at the same time seeks to educate the public of the dangers of abusing these medications.

The program was held at the Police Headquarters located on Rockdale Avenue. For this year's effort, the NBPD reports a total of 376.8 pounds of unused and unwanted prescription drugs collected in 14 different boxes, a 20 pounds more than the previous record set last year at 356 pounds.

Detectives Kelly Almeida and Bryan Oliveira organized the event for the department and assisted in collecting and storing the medication dropped off inside the NBPD Mobile Command Center.

Medications can be dropped off to New Bedford Police year-round at any of the four police stations located in the city.