Community Prevention

Prescription drug misuse is often tied to the belief that Rx drugs are safer and less addictive than street drugs. They can also be easier to get and have less stigma attached to their use. The Community Prevention Action Team is committed to changing these beliefs by educating the community about prescription drugs and raising awareness about the dangers associated with misuse.  The team will also focus on safe in-home storage and appropriate disposal methods in the County.

Next Team Meeting

TBD 9:00-10:30am
Behavioral Health Prevention & Outreach: 277 South St., Suite T, San Luis Obispo

Action Team Champion

Ashley Jones  |  County Behavioral Health Prevention & Outreach  |


1)   Engage 3 agencies or people from the list of “who is missing” identified at the first Action Team meeting in the efforts of Community Prevention for prescription drug safety by October 2016. 

2)  Increase Public Awareness of about prescription Drug Misuse/Abuse by completing the following:  (a)  PSA’s focused on safe storage and proper disposal information of prescription drugs, including local drop box locations, increase awareness of harm, identify who is at risk, show that all members of community have a role to play in prevention.  Goal is to have 1 PSA aired locally by May 1, 2017;  (b)  Create pharmacy bag insert cards with safe storage and proper disposal information- 1 focused on message of environment protection, 1 focused on message of reducing access to youth.   Goal is to create insert cards in 6 months (by November 1, 2016).  Distribute to all CVS pharmacy locations (8) by November 1, 2016;  (c) Create materials on safe storage and proper disposal of prescription drugs to be displayed in medical and dental offices, clinics, pharmacies, and websites.  Goal is to create 1-2 materials (poster, brochure) by November 1, 2016 and to test use in a county clinic/private clinic;  (d) Complete 3 in-person trainings regarding safe disposal of medication and the risks associated with drug misuse to 3 of the following audiences: pharmacy staff, Chamber of Commerce, Cal Poly Housing Staff, Professional Groups, and Property Managers by May 1, 2017;  (e) Collaborate with a pharmacy for a drug take back event and obtain press coverage to demonstrate safe disposal system in San Luis Obispo County.  Hold a drug take back event by November 1, 2016.  

3)   Reduce unwanted/unsafe access to prescription drugs by:  (a) Collaborate with 3 local pharmacies / retailers to maintain a supply of lockable medication storage devices for purchase by May 1, 2017 to increase ease of community member purchase;  (b) PSA for social media/television/schools with information about how parents can talk to their children about prescription drug misuse.  Create/Locate 1 PSA for use by January 1, 2017.  (c)  Develop a media campaign to outline consequences of possession, use, and furnishing prescription drugs by May 1, 2017 to be played/run in 1-2 media avenues;  (d)  Develop a high school social norms campaign to change the norm of misusing prescription drugs as study aids by May 1, 2017 in 2 local school settings.  


1)  National Drug Take Back Days (October & April) collected a combined 1445 pounds of medication from Oct 2016 to April 2018.  Events were hosted at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center, Twin Cities Community Hospital, and the CA Highway Patrol, San Luis Obispo Area Office.

2)  Medication disposal poster now available to clinics and physicians (PDF here).

3)  Safe storage & disposal presentations to San Luis Ambulance, Twin Cities Community Hospital, Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center, County of San Luis Obispo Public Health Commission, Templeton High School Health Class, and the Adult Abuse Prevention Council. Contact us for an educational presentation for your organization!

4) #UnCaptheFacts Campaign Design and Implementation: The "Once in a While" Campaign: #UNCAPTHEFACTS​. The goal of this campaign is to raise awareness amongst both high school and college students in San Luis Obispo County on the dangers of misusing prescription drugs and to reveal that even sporadic drug misuse is considered abuse.​ This campaign was designed in partnership with Cal Poly Art & Design students Kayla Lake, Doug Kessinger, Julie Marzan, and photographer Jordan Crough. (

5) Creation of two radio PSA's focused on safe storage and disposal, as well as youth prescription drug misuse.  PSA's were aired on five local radio stations, over a three month period, for a total of 1500 spots. (Listen here and here)

6) Partnership with Cal Poly Master's of Public Health class to develop a high school level toolkit for preventing prescription drug misuse and abuse. (PDF here)

Action Team Resources

Free Pharmacy Take-Back Medication Disposal Program
San Luis Obispo County residents can dispose of their unwanted, unused, and expired prescription medications year-round thanks to an ordinance passed by the Board of Directors of the San Luis Obispo County Integrated Waste Management Authority in 2015. Pharmacies in the incorporated cities and the unincorporated area of San Luis Obispo County are now required to provide customers with one or both of the following means of safely disposing of their unwanted medications: 1) Mail back program 2) Collection receptacle. These programs are free to the consumer, with the majority of local pharmacies offering a pre-paid envelope upon request. The disposal program reduces the likelihood of abuse of prescription drugs and it also increases the convenience for consumers to safely dispose of medications in an environmentally appropriate manner. For more information, click on the links below.

Medication Take Back Brochure  |  List of Participating Pharmacies

Safe Medication Storage and Disposal
Flyer and posters available for your healthcare site!  Call Ashley at (805) 781-4289 to request copies.