Thousands of unused pills collected in San Diego County to help save lives


SAN DIEGO — San Diegans drove up and dropped off their unwanted medications at 19 different locations Saturday in San Diego County on the DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

It’s an opportunity for people to save lives and protect the environment.

A majority of people who misused prescription medication got the drug from a family member or friend, according to a report published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

“Do the best you can so the drugs are not getting into the wrong hands,” said Evangela Dortch, San Diego DEA Field Office diversion program manager. “You don’t have to worry about them in the hands of someone, whether it’s a family member or not, whether it’s a neighbor or someone breaking into your house. If you drop them off here, it gives you an opportunity so we can get rid of them for you.”

One Canyon Hills High School senior joined the DEA’s office and San Diego Police Department Saturday to bring awareness to teen substance abuse.

“At a young age, you want curiosity, and you think you are invincible,” said Shayda Pirouzian, SAY San Diego’s Club Elevated youth leader. “When in reality, you are not invincible, so knowing the facts and being less in reach and having a support system is really important.”

In 2020, opioid-related deaths made up 75% of all overdose deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

With dozens of drop-off locations around the county, getting rid of these potentially dangerous substances is now easier than ever.

“Where we are standing right here, there’s like 20 in a 10-mile radius,” Pirouzian said. “And if you give it away or put it into a drop box, the teens and young children won’t get a hold of it and accidentally overdose.”

If you missed Saturday’s drop-off window, you can anonymously drop off unused, expired medication any day.

CLICK HERE to find the nearest drop-off location near you.

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