ELEVATED Youth: Preventing Drug Abuse, One Potluck at a Time

Tierrasanta Village had a Pot Luck on Labor Day.
Each day, 2,500 young people abuse prescription drugs for the first time.

It seems like those two statements are unrelated.  However, Tierrasanta Village and ELEVATED students worked together at the potluck to help reduce prescription drug abuse.  ELEVATED students passed out cards (which you see below) asking people to get rid of their old prescription drugs safely, by using drop boxes at the San Diego Police Department’s Eastern Division station.

ELEVATED president, Ashley Dixon, believes part of the problem of prescription drug abuse is that prescription drugs are too easy to get.  “Some people know they can have easy access through their parents’ and grandparents’ medicine cabinets,” she explained.

That’s where Tierrasanta Village comes in.  Over the summer, teens from Elevated met with staff at the Village to share information and to find solutions to community problems. 

They figured out that getting rid of old, unwanted, and expired prescription drugs is easy; they can be put into drop boxes located at some police stations.  Most people haven’t heard about the drop boxes.

On Labor Day, Elevated students, along with the DEA, passed out cards to approximately 50 senior citizens that ask them to take a minute to gather up their unwanted prescription drugs.  The cards have the address of the police station where the drop box is located.  Each card came in a ziploc bag that will hold several pill bottles or hundreds of loose pills and capsules. 

“Every pill bottle that goes in the drop box means fewer pills that might be misused or accidentally taken,” said Veneese Brown, who is an ELEVATED member.  “Using the drop box has other benefits.  Putting old medicine in the trash or down the drain isn’t a good idea.  Depending on the drug, it can poison our waters and cause a negative effect to our environment.”

If you would like additional information about ELEVATED or about this youth project, please contact Stacy Chiles (formerly Woods) in Serra Real Connections (room 230) or swoods@sandi.net.