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Prescription Drug Take Back Program A Success In San Diego

The County Medical Examiner says the leading cause of accidental death in San Diego is prescription drugs. Primarily caused by people who overdose on pain medication. Now federal authorities in San Diego say more people than ever before are getting rid of their unused prescriptions properly.

"We see a larger portion of the over 50 crowd, people who typically have more medication in their house," DEA Special Agent Tom Lenox, said. He also says the Prescription Drug Take Back program is showing signs of success and their latest collection of dropped off drugs is but a small example.

"We brought in almost 9,200 pounds, well over a ton more than we did in the last event," he said. The DEA and its partners set up drop off boxes for unused prescriptions at 35 locations in San Diego and three in Imperial County.

Agent Lenox says when the program started in 2009 there were only six drop off sites. "I think that tells me right now that the San Diego community understands the dangers of prescription drugs and the need to get rid of them and have them properly disposed of," Lenox said.

The program went national in 2010 and San Diego was the first to include Marine and Navy drop off sites. As well as colleges and Indian Reservations. "We had three different colleges and universities participating and San Diego being what it is we have tribal police involved on Indian reservations," Lenox said.

Over the past decade prescription drug-related death has increased 85 percent. Agent Lenox says you don't have to wait for the DEA's next event in October to get rid of your unused drugs.

"Obviously we do these every six months, if somebody has prescription drugs and haven't been able to get to a Take Back program. Currently the San Diego Sheriff's deparment have drop boxes at all of their 24 locations." Agent Lenox says all of the drugs turned in last weekend will be taken to a special facility and burned.

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