Authorities are advising homeowners to take precautions when preparing for an Open House by storing prescription medications in a safe, secure (preferably locked) place. The Sheriff’s Dept. says throughout the county, including Fallbrook, prescription drugs are going missing from medicine cabinets in homes during some Open House events. It is suspected that the those taking the drugs are teenage children viewing homes with the rest of their family.
“I have personally heard from arrestees and teens that this is a drug source for them,” said Lt. Todd Richardson, commander of the Fallbrook Sheriff’s substation.
Drug abuse experts, real estate professionals, and law officials came together recently at the County of San Diego administration building to publicly ask homeowners to do their part in preventing prescription drug theft.
They announced the launching of Safe Homes Coalition to publicize, and combat, the abuse and theft of prescription meds.
Homeowners generally know they should lock away small valuables before letting strangers tour through during an Open House, said Leslie Kilpatrick, president of the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors.
“They may not be aware that prescription drugs at their homes are a target,” Kilpatrick said. “Store them in your car trunk or other safe place while your home is being shown.”
Kilpatrick said Realtors last year became aware of the trend of people (and teens) tagging along on open house showings just to steal drugs. There have been incidences in other parts of the county where Realtors have caught individuals in the act of doing that.
Sheriff’s deputies have been asking prisoners where they get their drugs, and more and more often open houses were brought up, Sheriff’s commander Mike Barletta said.
Authorities had no statistics on what percentage of stolen drugs come from Open Houses, but said the problem of prescription drug abuse keeps growing.
Officials said the abuse of prescribed medications continues to be a leading cause of death in San Diego County.