In an attempt to curb climbing addiction rates in the state, Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring has acquired 80,000 drug disposal pouches. When used as directed, these kits are capable of destroying 3.6 million leftover opioid pills. These disposal kits, along with several other strategies, embody a multi-faceted plan designed to give Virginia an advantage in the struggle against growing rates of addiction to prescription opioids and heroin.
The biodegradable drug disposal kits were donated to the Attorney General’s office by Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals. The kits, which take the form of large pouches, are designed to be easy to use. Leftover prescription pills are placed in the pouch, and warm water from the faucet is added. After half a minute, the pouch is sealed and shaken, allowing the water to combine with the active carbon inside. The carbon breaks down the medications, thus allowing the pouch to be thrown in the trash with little danger, given that the prescription pills have been rendered inert and unusable by the pouch.
Furthermore, once the pills have been deactivated in the pouch, they no longer present a threat to the environment, so the kits may be disposed of in a landfill without fear of contaminating soil or water sources. Each pouch has the capacity to safely dispose of up to 45 pills.
Crisis in Virginia
Attorney General Herring has acquired the pouches in response to the ever-growing opioid epidemic in Virginia and the rest of the United States. The statistics for 2015 reveal the disturbing characteristics of Virginia’s burgeoning epidemic, with an alarming 576 Virginians dying from an overdose of prescription opioids, while 342 died of heroin overdose and 224 from fentanyl overdose. In the first half of 2016, over 213 Virginians have already died of an overdose of prescription opioids.
The Attorney General stated his belief that by providing citizens of Virginia with safe disposal pouches, they can help mitigate opioid addiction by preventing legitimately prescribed painkillers from being abused. In some instances, an individual might exhaust a supply of prescription opioid pills and, in their desperation for another fix, may turn to the streets to search for dangerous illicit substances such as heroin or fentanyl. By reducing the number of loose opioid pills in Virginia homes, Attorney General Herring hopes to prevent as many Virginians as possible from going down that road to begin with.
Distributing the Disposal Kits
Attorney General Herring plans to get the drug disposal pouches into the hands of those who need them in two ways. 30,000 kits will be sent to local law enforcement agencies, pharmacies, hospitals, and nonprofits after they complete an online request form. In addition, the Office of the Attorney General is partnering with the Virginia Department of Health to distribute the remaining 50,000 disposal kits across the state. The drug disposal kits were donated by Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals at no charge to the state, and they will be provided to citizens at no charge.
Do You Struggle With Addiction?
As addiction rates continue to rise across the nation, more people than ever find themselves in need of a reliable addiction recovery program. If you struggle with dependence to drugs or alcohol, you deserve every advantage possible in order to overcome your addiction. Contact the Intervention Association today, and we can help you locate a substance abuse treatment center that can help you begin working toward recovery.