Public Safety

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day: Safely Dispose of Medications

Mixture of various prescription pills turned in to Sheriff.

Why is it important to turn in unwanted and expired prescription medications? They could be stolen or abused by another member of the family or visitors. And if thrown away or flushed down a toilet, it pollutes water and the environment.

The next National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is being held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sat., Oct. 24 for people to anonymously dispose of unwanted medications. To allow for the social distancing needed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, all locations will use drive-through or drop-off options.

Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration, which hosts the semi-annual national event.

Sharps are not accepted at take back events. Vaping devices must have the batteries removed.

This year there are more than a dozen locations including three San Diego County Sheriff’s locations:

  • Imperial Beach Sheriff’s Station, 845 Imperial Beach Blvd.
  • Poway Sheriff’s Station, 13100 Bowron Road
  • San Marcos Sheriff’s Station, 182 Santar Place

Other locations are:

  • Escondido Police Station, 1163 N. Centre City Parkway, Escondido
  • El Cajon Police Department, 100 Civic Center Way, El Cajon
  • La Mesa Police Department, 8085 University Ave., La Mesa
  • San Diego Police Department Eastern Division, 9225 Aero Drive, San Diego
  • San Diego Police Department Northwestern Division, 12592 El Camino Real, San Diego
  • San Diego Police Department Western Division, 5215 Gaines St., San Diego
  • Navy Exchange 32nd Street, in the NEX lot at the Callagan Hwy gate
  • MCAS Miramar Exchange, Building #2660 Elrod Ave.
  • Naval Medical Center Balboa, 34800 Bob Wilson Drive, Baxter Circle between buildings 2 and 3
  • Chula Vista Public Works, 1800 Maxwell Drive, Chula Vista
  • Coronado Police Station, 700 Orange Ave., Coronado

To find the collection site nearest you, visit

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