SAN DIEGO (CNS) - More than two tons of drugs were collected across San Diego County over the weekend as part of a nationwide "take back" drive aimed at safely getting rid of old pills or other medicines that are commonly abused.

A total of 4,731 pounds of expired or no-longer-needed pharmaceuticals were dropped off at two dozen locations in the region during a four-hour period on Saturday, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's San Diego office.

Hospitals, police stations and military facilities provided drop-off boxes for the piles of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, which were accepted with no questions asked and then packaged for environmentally-friendly disposal.

The inaugural national "Prescription Drug Take Back Day" was a response to widespread increases in abuse of prescription drugs. In the San Diego area, fatalities related to misuse of pharmaceuticals increased 67 percent between 2005 and last year, according to the county Medical Examiner's Office.