BALTIMORE (WJZ) — National Drug Take Back Day in Baltimore County brought in bags of unwanted or unused pills and prescriptions.

The event Saturday reflected an amped-up effort by Maryland State Police and the Drug Enforcement Administration to make sure medications don’t add fuel to the Maryland opioid epidemic.

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“The opioid epidemic is a very serious and challenging battle. It’s an ongoing battle. But events like these, national events like these, definitely help,” Maryland State Police Sgt. DaVaughn Parker said.

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Just last year, Marylanders surrendered more than 2,500 pounds of drugs to bins at police barracks across the state.

Officials say there were nearly 2,000 fatal overdose deaths in Maryland last year.

Organizations like Rali are finding more solutions — introducing a pouch that neutralizes drugs and makes them safe to throw in the regular trash, just by adding water.

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“We find that the majority of people that have a drug problem, particularly opioids, get those from family and friends and from the home,” Major General Arthur Dean of the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America.

The pouch works like this: dump in up to 45 pills, then add warm water. The pouch neutralizes the drugs and all you have to do it toss it in the trash.

However you safely dispose of your drugs, Maryland House Speaker Michael Busch says it’s about keeping drugs from laying around.

“Today is another tool in the box to fight this epidemic, and it’s not going to go away,” Busch said.

Major efforts, like the drug take back, aim to combat addictions gripping Maryland. Making sure what you fill at the pharmacy doesn’t wind up in the wrong hands.

If you weren’t able to drop off your unwanted drugs at the event, state police barracks accept them in special containers 24 hours a day.

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