By CBS3 Staff

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Deadly overdoses continue to skyrocket and Pennsylvania is ground zero for the epidemic, logging the third most overdoses in the United States. One way communities have been trying to buck the trend are with drug take-backs.

Firefighters are hoping to saves lives in a different way at Engine 43 in Center City. The fire company hosted a drug take-back day, taking unused or expired prescription drugs out of local resident’s homes.

“They’ve been laying around the house,” Anthony Zongaro, who dropped off expired drugs, said Saturday.

Authorities hoped to fill boxes with as many prescription drugs as possible as part of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

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Thousands of sites across the country collected items from 10 a.m. till 2 p.m.

“The way things are people can get a hold of them,” Zongaro said.

Formerly in law enforcement, Zongaro knows sometimes addiction starts in one’s medicine cabinet.

“Some good friends started out taking painkillers,” Zongaro said, “and then the doctors took them off the painkillers and they had to resort to the streets.”

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“Drugs that expire I like to bring them here rather than flush them down the toilet and affect the health of people,” John Russo, another Philadelphia man who dropped off expired drugs, said,

Over the last nine years, the Drug Enforcement Administration has collected a total of nearly 11 million pounds of expired, unused and unwanted prescription medications through its take-back day events.

Even though the event is over, authorities encourage the community to drop off unwanted medication to a collection site.