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Pill Take Back Project

Grant term | March 2014 - December 31, 2018 | Funded by the National Institutes for Health and Indian Health Service

Purpose of Grant: The purpose of this grant is to reduce availability and misuse of prescription pain medication (opioids) by:

  • Creating awareness of the harms of prescription medication abuse

  • Conducting medication disposal events in collaboration with the Valley Center Sheriff’s Department

  • Distributing lock boxes to secure personal medication to IHC patients and community members



In response to the rising prevalence of prescription opiate painkiller diversion and misuse, the Pill Take Back Project (PTBP) aims to reduce availability and misuse of prescription medication through a variety of community-based interventions. Throughout the development of this grant, PTBP staff has openly received input from community members to ensure culturally appropriate interventions at all stages of the grant.

Medication disposal events, in collaboration with the Valley Center Sheriff’s Department, ensure that Rx medications are disposed of safely. These events keep powerful medications out of our environment and out of the hands of those who are more likely to abuse them. The PTBP provides education on proper use and disposal to youth across the nine local reservations, primarily during after school programs. Community education and outreach is provided during larger events like Tribal Earth Days, Pow Wows, or Health Fairs. Through this Native American Research Center for Health funded grant, the PTBP is able to provide personal lock boxes at no cost to Indian Health Council patients to help keep medications secure.

Completed Objectives:

  • Administered two self-reported surveys assessing attitudes and behaviors toward use of prescription pain medication (opioids) [pre- and post- intervention] to 595 Native individuals 18 years and older

  • Presented findings at different national conferences such as the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting, Society for Prevention Research, and the Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit

  • Recorded four video public service announcements and a total of nine radio public service announcements on the local radio station (91.3 Pala Rez radio) in conjunction with All Tribes Charter School, Click here to listen to some of the public service announcements

  • Collected a total of 120.1 lbs. of prescription medications, Click here for information about drop off events

  • Distributed 224 prescription drug lock boxes

  • Provided over 130 community educational presentations of opioid abuse and misuse

  • Obtained Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Clinic Collector license approval to install a permanent medication collection box in the Indian Health Council pharmacy



Positive outcomes of the grant:

  • Proper disposal of Rx medication helps protect our environment  

  • Dispersion of research knowledge centered around Native American communities

  • Outreach and education prevent community members, especially the youth from using drugs and teaches them resiliency strategies 

Meet The Team

Dan Calac, MD

Principal Investigator

Roland Moore, PhD

Principal Investigator

Gloria Alonzo, BS

Program Manager



Tel. 760-749-1410 X5247

50100 Golsh Rd, 
Valley Center, CA 92082



Monday - Friday 8:00 - 4:30




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