Public Safety

Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet

You’re not being an unwitting drug dealer, are you? How? Your medicine cabinet.

It can be a source for people abusing prescription drugs. Many teenagers admit getting the medications from the homes of family and friends.

You can keep them away from abusers and prevent unintentional overdose deaths by safely disposing of your unwanted medications in a Prescription Drug Take Back Day on April 26. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), in partnership with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and other law enforcement agencies, will be collecting prescription drugs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 26 at Sheriff’s stations and other locations around the county.

The County Medical Examiner’s 2012 Annual Report states there were 269 deaths that year related to prescription drugs, part of a disturbing trend seen over the last seven years.

RELATED: Prescription Drug, Heroin Abuse on the Rise

To help San Diegans learn more about prescription drug abuse and resources to help combat the problem, the San Diego County Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force launched a new website this week.

“Prescription drug abuse is an important issue that affects many San Diegans. It is a problem that can be prevented and treated,” said County Supervisor Dave Roberts, who serves on the Task Force committee. “This website provides a powerful resource for people who are struggling with a family member dealing with prescription drug abuse. The information provided can help them to identify the signs of prescription drug abuse and get them the help they need.”

Unwanted, unused and expired prescription drugs can not only end up in the wrong hands but can damage the environment if disposed of improperly. Medications flushed down the toilet can pollute the groundwater supplies because synthetic substances can’t be removed through normal water treatment processes. The contamination can make the water unsafe to drink for people and wildlife and unusable for agriculture.

The DEA San Diego office and its partners collected 9,603 pounds of prescription drugs from San Diego and Imperial Counties combined during a take-back event last October. Across the nation, 324 tons of prescription drugs were turned in at 4,100 locations.

This Saturday, the DEA and Sheriff are making 42 drop boxes available including eight at County locations. No questions will be asked when medications are turned in. Sharps and needles are not accepted. County locations for Saturday include: 

  • Alpine Sheriff’s Station, 2751 Alpine Blvd., Alpine
  • Imperial Beach Sheriff’s Station, 845 Imperial Beach Blvd., Imperial Beach
  • Lemon Grove Sheriff’s Station, 3240 Main St., Lemon Grove
  • Fallbrook Sheriff’s Station, 388 E. Alvarado St., Fallbrook
  • Poway Sheriff’s Station, 13100 Bowron Road, Poway
  • San Diego County Juvenile Hall, 2801 Meadow Lark Dr., San Diego
  • San Diego County Library Julian Branch, 1850 Highway 78, Julian
  • San Diego District Attorney’s Office Hall of Justice, 330 W. Broadway, San Diego

Complete list of Saturday’s take-back locations (PDF)

If you can’t make the event, the website also lists all Sheriff’s Department and other local law enforcement locations with secure drop boxes available weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Scroll down this Web page to see the list of locations.

Yvette Urrea Moe is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact