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 Canyon Hills Students Work to Prevent Overdose Deaths from Prescription Medicine

Find a drop near you illustration"It’s easier than ever to safely get rid of your old and expired pills and we’re trying to make sure more people know it,” said Shayda Pirouzian, a member of Club Elevated at Canyon Hills High School in Tierrasanta. 

Pirouzian spent a recent Saturday talking with people who dropped off their old and unwanted medications at the San Diego Police Station on Aero Drive. It was National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, an event that happens twice a year. 

“People are in the habit of coming to Take Back Day, which is great. But most of them don’t know there are year-round drop boxes right in their own neighborhood,” Pirouzian explained. 

“You can drop off your old pills at pharmacies, hospitals and grocery stores,” according to Holly Kirkman, president of Club Elevated. “You don’t have to wait for the next Take Back Day.”

The club designed a refrigerator magnet that shows a website where anyone can find a nearby drop box. 

“On the website, just type in your ZIP code. You’ll get a list of all the drop boxes near you,” said Pirouzian. “For example, there are 20 drop boxes within 10 miles here. There’s probably one inside a store in your neighborhood.” 

According to the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, two out of three young people who misuse prescription drugs get them from their family’s medicine cabinet or from friends.

“That’s why it’s so important to keep your medications locked up and to get rid of them if you don’t need them anymore,” said Kirkman. “If your pills are expired, put them in a drop box. Or if your doctor switches you to a new medicine, put the leftovers in a drop box.” 

Back in 2015, local doctors wrote enough prescriptions to provide every person in San Diego County with about forty pills. However, doctors are prescribing fewer painkillers now, about half as many pills. 

Pirouzian says protecting your kids is as easy as safely disposing of leftover prescription medication. “If you put it in a drop box, teens and young children can’t get ahold of it and accidentally overdose.”  

If you have friends or relatives who speak Spanish, Tagalog, Farsi, Vietnamese, or Arabic, they can learn about safe drug disposal on the San Diego County Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force website.

To find out more about Club Elevated, contact Stacy Chiles