Drug deactivation pouch offers safe disposal of unused medications

You’ve probably heard that you shouldn’t have old or unused prescriptions lying around the house. But do you know how to properly dispose of them?

One way is through your community’s drop-box, like those at Bozeman’s law and justice center or police department, or drug take-back programs.

But what if you can’t make it to one of these drop boxes?

Now, a new drug deactivation bag called ‘Deterra’ uses carbon to break down the drugs, rendering them inert and making disposal at home safe and simple.

The Chemical Dependency Bureau of DPHHS is working with the Interagency Coordinating Council (ICC) for State Prevention Programs to bring this product to Montana.

“Basically it’s going to help keep Montana communities safe and healthy by proper storage and use and disposal of prescription drugs in their house,” said Edward Sypinski, prevention specialist at Bozeman Alcohol and Drug Services.

“It’s a safe way to dispose of drugs that have a possibility of being misused or abused,” he said.

Using the pouch, you take your medication and place it in the bag, add warm water, wait about 30 seconds, seal it, shake it up, and throw it in the trash, where it is safe to dispose of.

And its purpose is twofold, keeping both environment and the community safe.

“But hopefully this just provides another avenue, where people can safely dispose of drugs, and of course that protects not only from other people, who could potentially take them from a cabinet, from the garbage, from things like that,” said Cpt. Jim Veltkamp with the Bozeman Police Department.

“It also protects them from harming the environment because it’s not safe to flush them down the toilet or put them in any sort of water, that’s not effective,” Veltkamp said.

Each Deterra pouch will hold up to 45 pills, 6 oz. of medication, or six medication patches, and will deactivate any type of organic medication, including opioids.

One-hundred thousand Deterra bags will be distributed throughout Montana, with 3,500 coming here to Gallatin County, and you will find them at health departments, pharmacies, law enforcement agencies and schools.

The pouches are free at all of the above locations, and for more information on how the Deterra pouch works, visit their website.