Unused prescription drugs can be deadly, and by a 5-0 vote Aug. 7, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved installing a secure receptacle at the County Administration Center to collect unwanted pharmaceuticals.
The drop box is located on the first-floor rotunda of the county building at 1600 Pacific Highway. The public can discard unused medicine in the sturdy, steel receptacle with no charge and no questions asked.
“More than 400,000 people come to the County Administration Center every year to conduct business,” said Supervisor Pam Slater-Price. “If 1 percent take advantage of the box, that will equate to more than 4,000 drops.”
The drop box also will provide a convenience to the 750 employees based at the building.
In 2010, Slater-Price formed a task force to address a spike in prescription drug abuse. She also secured funding to fabricate 22 drop boxes, which are available to the public at Sheriff’s stations throughout the county.
In two years, more than 8,000 pounds of prescription drugs have been collected in the drop boxes, said Undersheriff Ed Prendergast. Slater-Price, he said, “has been a real champion” in combating prescription drug abuse.
In 2011, the county recorded 267 unintentional, prescription drug-related deaths.
“Many of them were teens,” Slater-Price said. “Their experimentation often begins with drugs taken straight from their parents’ medicine cabinets.”