SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -

Drugs that contribute to thousands of deaths each year have been taken off the streets for good.

"We are taking back unused and old prescription medications to get them out of the house and away from becoming drugs of opportunity," said Lieutenant Kenneth Shaw with the Greene County Sheriff’s Office.

Officers say prescription drug abuse is a problem across the nation and can turn deadly when medicine is not taken in the way the doctor intended.

"I think it's an issue everywhere. It doesn't matter which county," said Shaw.

"If the drugs are there it's an opportunity and they are abused by teens and adults alike. This gives us an opportunity to get them out of the house and dispose of them properly," he explained.

In addition to getting prescription drugs off the streets the event was held in conjunction with several neighborhood clean-up initiatives.

"People have gotten to the point they don't want to pay for trash service because it's so expensive and sometimes they might not have transportation to do it themselves so by us doing it it's really vital and urgent that we get out and do it," said neighborhood association president Carl Porras Sr.

Several different neighborhood associations used grant money from the city to rent large trash bins giving local residents the chance to get rid of large items that can sometimes be costly to throw away.

"Its cleaning up our community. We are tired of seeing trash left on the side of the roads and up and down [the streets] in the neighborhoods," said Porras.

This is the eighth national DEA drug Take-Back Day in four years. The previous events have been collected more than 3 million pounds of prescription drugs.