CHULA VISTA (CNS) – The Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day involved several law enforcement agencies and community groups throughout San Diego County Saturday, including teen members of the South Bay Youth 4 Change organization who volunteered their time to encourage Chula Vista residents to take advantage of the event.
The take-back event at Camarena Elementary School was the only site in Chula Vista.
“I am helping out at this event because I want to help prevent drug abuse,” said Madeline Coronado, a member of the South Bay Youth 4 Change. “This helps keep others aware of the dangers of unused prescription drugs in their homes.”
Expired medications or unused drugs often stay in the back of cabinets for months or even years, according to the DEA. The expired drugs can pose significant health hazards to toddlers, teens, and even family pets who may inadvertently consume medications. Some medications are so potent that even one dose could be fatal if accidentally ingested, according to the DEA.
“The program aims to provide a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the public about the potential for abuse and medications,” Chula Vista Police Chief Roxana Kennedy said. “It’s a great time to clean out your medicine cabinet. Protect our kids, families and the environment by properly disposing of your unwanted and expired medicines.”
“Too many kids are being hurt by prescription drugs left in their parent’s medicine cabinet,” Kennedy said. “The Prescription Drug Take Back Day can go a long way in preventing drug abuse and accidental death. Medicines in the home are a leading cause of accidental poisoning and flushed or trashed medicines can end up polluting our waters.”
The Chula Vista event involved city officials who were on hand to also collect household hazardous waste.
“We took the opportunity to help Chula Vista residents get rid of more than just unwanted drugs and do a thorough spring cleaning of their homes,” said Manuel Medrano, recycling program manager for the city. “In addition to pharmaceutical waste we also collected electronics and household hazardous waste all in one convenient location. This was a great opportunity for our residents to properly dispose of toxic and dangerous waste like unwanted or expired medicine.”
In a survey of 2,000 local residents last year, the San Diego County Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force found that only 25 percent of San Diego County residents properly disposed of unwanted or expired medication. Seventy-five percent kept them, flushed them in the toilet or threw the medications in the trash.
The DEA began hosting National Prescription Drug Take Back events in 2010. At the previous 12 take-back days, millions of pounds of unwanted, unneeded or expired medications were surrendered for safe and proper disposal.
Saturday’s disposal service was free and anonymous, with no questions asked.
San Diego County has collected almost 90,000 pounds of medications over the past five years during take back events, according to the San Diego County Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force 2016 Rx Report Card.
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