Clackamas County Gets with Drug Deactivation Kits
The Clackamas County Fair may not be the first place you’d expect to have a chat about expired narcotics. And it’s most certainly not the first place you’d expect to find a stand that’s freely handing out drug deactivation kits. Then again, in an over-prescribed world such as ours, neither seems like bad ideas. After all, the dangers associated with out-of-date prescription medicines certainly affect the whole family. drug deactivation kits
The Clackamas County Fair may not be the first place you’d expect to find folks freely distributing drug deactivation kits, but perhaps it should be. After all, county fairs are designed with the entire family in mind. And expired prescription medicines can most certainly affect every member of the family.
That seems to be the reasoning behind Clackamas County District Attorney John Wentworth’s showing up at this year’s fair and handing out drug deactivation kits. It also seems to be some very solid reasoning.
“Our goal is to offer an alternative to other approaches being tried in other communities, specifically to rid our streets of opioids,” DA Wentworth told The Oregonian’s Kayla Nguyen. “We’re hopeful that these products are one solution.”
The products DA Wentworth is referring to are little blue-and-black biodegradable pouches put out by a company called Deterra.
Deterra officially labels them Drug Deactivation and Disposal Pouches and claims they’re “proven to destroy unwanted and expired medications safely and permanently, making them unavailable for misuse, theft or accidental ingestion.” Deterra also says their “plant-based pouches prevent harmful drugs from entering our landfills and water systems, making the world safer for everyone.”
We can’t see a single thing wrong with any of that.
Drug Deactivation Kits
We sure can see a whole lot of right about it though. In fact, we found an alphabet soup can of authorities eager to say nay about holding on to old prescription medications.
The FDA says “Once the expiration date has passed there is no guarantee that the medicine will be safe and effective. If your medicine has expired, do not use it.” The DEA says “many people don’t know how to properly clean out their medicine cabinets.” And that “failing to safely dispose of old medications all too often leads to dangerous drugs ending up in the wrong hands.”
What does the DEA mean by “all too often”? Well, “the CDC reports that 50,000 young children end up in emergency rooms each year because they got into medicines while an adult wasn’t looking.”
Is that all too often enough for you?
Of course it is. In fact, it’s too much. Way too much. That’s why Deterra’s drug deactivation kits are such a great idea. It’s also why we applaud DA Wentworth’s deactivation distribution efforts.
Other Drug Deactivation Efforts
Clackamas County isn’t the only place in the States that’s stepping up to end the scourge presented by old and expired medications. Maryland’s Atlantic General Hospital has been distributing the Deterra Drug Deactivation System with all opioid prescriptions since 2019. While Jefferson County New York’s Alliance for Better Communities has included Deterra in its Harm Reduction Kits since 2021.
We’ve also seen that Sauk County (WI) Public Health, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the City of Alexandria and the Delaware Department of Health are all also distributing Deterra’s drug deactivation kits. And those are just four of what appears to be a rapidly increasing list of stakeholders.
Again, with good reason. While local drug take-back initiatives were well-meaning, the logistics rendered them only a fraction as effective as they needed to be. The Deterra System completely flips the previous script. Heck, we’d even say the pouches seem like the solution we’ve been seeking all along.