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Unused and expired drugs being collected at drug take back events across Central Coast

Posted at 5:22 AM, Oct 25, 2019

Unused and expired prescription drugs can be misused and may even cause unintended deaths, which is why San Luis Obispo authorities are partaking Saturday in a nationwide drug take back event.

Studies show a majority of abused prescription drugs came from the medicine cabinets of friends and family of an addicted person.

A 2018 survey on drug use and health found 9.9 million Americans were misusing controlled prescription drugs.

That's why the U.S. Drug Enforcement Association is hosting nationwide take back events Saturday, including locations in San Luis Obispo, Gaudalupe, Lompoc and Santa Maria.

During the last collection period in April, law enforcement agencies across the country collected over 937,000 lbs of prescription drugs.

About 188 lbs of the total collected were received in San Luis Obispo County.

CHP Officer Mike Pelking said the take back program protects the community and environment.

"People think 'Oh, I'm done with these, let's just flush them.' But if you flush them down the toilet, they're ultimately going to be dispersed back into the water system one way or the other and could potentially contaminate water down the line," Poelking said. "As far as throwing them out, people could be rifling through trash cans, obtaining them that way."

Officials say non-medical use of prescription drugs is the second most common form of drug abuse in America.

"When they're users and misusing and stealing opioids, etc. then obviously you can end up in an overdose situation or marketing those to resell to people that are looking for that type of drug or controlled substance," Poelking said.

Misuse of drugs can result in accidental poisoning, overdose, and even unintended death.

Unlike in years past, people can now drop off vaping products and devices at the SLO County location. Poelking said people are asked to remove the battery from the device before dropping it off.

This year, law enforcement is partnering with a treatment center called the Haven, which is one of the only residential detox and addiction treatment center on California's Central Coast.

Find the closest drop off location to you by clicking here.