Drug pouches will help people dispose of unused prescriptions at home, Beshear says – Kentucky Today (registration)

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By TOM LATEK, Kentucky Today

FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT)  – A new way to attack the state’s drug epidemic without leaving home was introduced on Tuesday by Attorney General Andy Beshear.

The Kentucky Opioid Disposal Program uses “drug deactivation pouches” to get rid of the medications safely at home. It involves using the drug deactivation pouch Deterra, where unused prescription opioids can be disposed in a completely safe and environmentally friendly manner.

The program will start with a pilot project working with the sheriffs’ departments in Floyd, Henderson, McCracken and Perry counties and it has the potential to dispose of more than 2.2 million unused opioids. 

“Kentuckians will be able to safely dispose of unused medications at home and protect their family, friends and neighbors from addiction,” Beshear said.

Unused medication is placed into the pouch, filled with warm water and after 30 seconds the pouch is sealed. Then the pouch is shaken before disposed of it in normal trash. One pouch destroys 45 pills, six ounces of liquid or six patches.

 “We have to be as creative as possible in trying to find different ways and avenues to combat the prescription drug problem we are experiencing,” said McCracken County Sheriff Jon Hayden. “This is certainly a creative idea in that this could cut off a source for some people in obtaining some highly addictive controlled substances.”

“Perry County and rural Kentucky are experiencing a battle with addiction that is directly impacting our people and our economic growth,” said Perry County Judge-Executive Scott Alexander. “It’s imperative we work in partnership to develop community-based solutions like the Kentucky Opioid Disposal Program to overcome this epidemic and thrive as a region.”

“Prescription drug abuse is how an overwhelming 80 percent of heroin users begin their addiction,” Beshear said.  “The misuse of prescription drugs often starts when a person has access to an unused supply from a friend or relative’s medicine cabinet.”

Beshear’s announcement comes on the heels of Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s announced the city is suing the three largest wholesale opioid distribution companies in the United States.

“Prescription drug abuse is how an overwhelming 80 percent of heroin users begin their addiction,” Beshear said.  “The misuse of prescription drugs often starts when a person has access to an unused supply from a friend or relative’s medicine cabinet.”

The pouch program is the latest effort by Beshear’s office to fight the opioid crisis. He announced on June 28 he plans to file lawsuits against drug manufacturers, distributors and retailers where there is evidence contributing to the opioid epidemic through illegal marketing and selling of opioids to Kentuckians. 

To support the effort, Beshear issued a request for proposals for legal services to aid in the lawsuits.  Since the law firms would work on a contingency basis, meaning they would collect legal fees and percentage of fines awarded by the court, Kentucky tax dollars will not be used for litigation costs

 

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