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Going door-to-door to fight the opioid crisis

Posted at 6:09 PM, Apr 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-08 09:53:01-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV)-- Nearly 200 realtors and elected officials in San Diego kicked off an innovative program aimed to reduce access to dangerous opioids.

Volunteers went door-to-door, handing out information cards and special plastic bags for residents to properly dispose of their unneeded and expired prescription drugs.

For the fourth year in a row, the number of San Diegans who died from unintentional drug-related deaths went up. To counter the increasing number of opioid deaths, San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore, County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar, Safe Homes Coalition and the San Diego Association of Realtors launched the “Keep Kids Safe” program.

10News followed a group of volunteers who were assigned to walk around the Bay Ho area.

“I’m not here to sell a home. I’m here to introduce an opportunity to save lives," real estate broker, Robert Weichelt said. In the last couple of years, he has sene a disturbing trend in his industry.

“We had people coming to our open houses, going in to take medicine out of the medicine cabinet," Kevin Burke, CEO of the San Diego Association of Realtors said.

Thieves would pose as prospective buyers, then steal prescriptions from the medicine cabinets when they tour the property. That is why more nearly 200 realtors volunteered their Saturday to spread the word about disposing of unneeded or expired prescription drugs.

Flushing pills down the drain causes pollution. Instead, they are distributing 100,000 special prescription bags that could be taken to one of 20 disposal sites in San Diego County, so they do not land in the wrong hands.

Sandy Nolan lost her son, Jerry, to a heroin overdose almost 11 years ago. His gateway drug was inside of their home.

“It all started with prescription drugs," Nolan said. That is why she is so passionate about eliminating access to dangerous opioids.

“When you’re done with that prescription, and you don’t need it anymore, get it in that bag, take it to the disposal spots, and get it out of your house, right away," Nolan said.

For more information on this initiative, CLICK HERE.