Residents can turn in expired or unwanted prescription drugs to Newport Beach and Irvine police Saturday.

The two departments announced that they are participating in the federal Drug Enforcement Administration's National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

Turning in the unused drugs can help prevent abuse and keep people from taking potentially dangerous expired medication, according to news releases from the two departments.

Irvine police said they typically collect hundreds of pounds of drugs when they participate in the annual event.

Nationwide, almost 1,400 tons of unwanted pills were collected in the six previous take-back events, according to numbers from the DEA.

Irvine police will collect drugs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at two locations: the Irvine Civic Center, One Civic Center Plaza, and at Kaiser Permanente Irvine Medical Center, 6670 Alton Parkway.

In Newport, pills can be turned in at the Newport Coast Community Center, 6401 San Joaquin Hills Road, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The service is free and anonymous.

— Jeremiah Dobruck

Twitter: @jeremiahdobruck