Safe Homes Coalition targets prescription drug thefts at open houses

SAN DIEGO - Authorities say the abuse of prescription medications has become an epidemic in San Diego County, and on Tuesday morning, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis announced the formation of the Safe Homes Coalition.

The group's goal will be to help stop the misuse and abuse of prescription medication. The group includes the district attorney's office, the Greater San Diego Association of REALTORS, Mental Health Systems and the county's Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force.

During Tuesday's news conference, Dumanis said misused prescription drugs kill 40 Americans every day.

Dumanis said realtors have reported a spike in the number of thefts of prescription medications during open houses. Thieves seem to be targeting pain medication like Oxycontin, which can be re-sold for as much as $30 a pill.

Part of the new program to eliminate the problem involves issuing realtors plastic bags to give to homeowners so they can store their prescriptions during open houses when strangers are coming through their home.

Sheriff Bill Gore said San Diegans can do their part by properly disposing of unused or expired prescription meds.

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