AUGUSTA — Kennebec County is following the lead of communities in Maine that have collected old and unused prescription drugs so they can be properly disposed of.

Sheriff Randall Liberty says deputies are disposing of unwanted prescription medications after the drugs are delivered to the sheriff’s office in Augusta. Deputies will also respond to callers who want medications picked up at their homes.

South Portland and Cape Elizabeth police have already conducted a similar program in which they collected more than 100,000 pills.

In Kennebec County, Liberty said proper disposal of old prescription drugs will help to reduce one of the causes of drug abuse. The sheriff said that in the first week of the drug collection program, the deputies collected more than 5,200 prescription pills.