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Home » Opioid Awareness » Drug Deactivation: A Solution to the Opioid Epidemic

When it comes to opioids and other powerful — and dangerous — medications, the problems facing the country are well-known.

Dangers In your medicine cabinet

The root of many of these problems is right in your homes. More than 60 percent of people with leftover prescription opioids keep the pills for future use rather than disposing of them, with 1 in 5 reporting they shared their medication with another person (known as “diversion”). We all know this leads to misuse and addiction.

Even when leftover drugs are disposed of, they are often flushed down sinks and toilets or improperly disposed of in the  household trash, where these still potent drugs can harm our environment. Additionally, wastewater treatment plants are generally not designed nor equipped to remove pharmaceuticals which means that these drugs make their way into our lakes, rivers, streams and soil.

A solution proven to increase disposal habits

Studies have shown that using an at-home disposal system such as the Deterra® Drug Deactivation System helps stop opioid and other medication misuse before it starts. Deterra is an immediate alternative to flushing or discarding medication and prevents still-potent drugs from contaminating our water supply and landfills. Deterra has a positive impact on the removal of dangerous medicines from the home while protecting the environment:

  • A study published in JAMA Surgery conducted on post-operative adult surgery patients found that those given Deterra for at-home disposal were nearly four times more likely to safely dispose of their leftover and unneeded medications. The authors concluded, “Our findings suggest that simple, low-cost interventions such as in-home deactivation methods, could reduce the number of unused opioids available for diversion.”
  • Another study published in JAMA Pediatrics focused on 202 pediatric surgery patients found that when families were provided Deterra Drug Deactivation Pouches, it increased overall disposal habits while decreasing the amount of medicines disposed in the sink or toilet, keeping these drugs out of the environment.

Real-world use

The real-world experience matches the studies’ findings: “Our farm and rural families have a tendency to hang on to unused medicine, in case they may need it in the future,” notes Ruth Linkenmeyer-Meirick of the Minnesota Farm Bureau. “Educating them on the importance of proper prescription medicine disposal and providing the Deterra Drug Deactivation and Disposal system has helped prevent opioid misuse and abuse, as well as offering them an environmentally sound way to properly dispose [of prescription medicine], which is very important to our population.”

“Providing the Deterra Drug Deactivation and Disposal System to our patients with post-surgical opioid prescriptions has decreased the number of pills available in homes for misuse,” says Rachel Uzlik of Twin Cities Orthopedics in Minnesota. “As well as keeping them out of the waste stream.”

Dispose of dangerous leftover medication in minutes

With Deterra, you can rid your home of unused, expired and unwanted opioids with three easy steps:          

Each of us has a responsibility to destroy and dispose of unused and unwanted prescription and over-the-counter drugs that are so often subject to dangerous misuse and abuse. Clean out your medicine cabinet during National Recovery Month to keep dangerous drugs away from the ones you love.

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