Pilot program launched in four counties to help fight Kentucky's opioid problem

Published: Aug. 22, 2017 at 12:32 PM EDT
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State leaders unveiled on Tuesday their newest step in fighting opioid abuse. Attorney General Andy Beshear launched the Kentucky Opioid Disposal Program. Beshear says the program will allow Kentuckians to safely dispose of opioid medications at home with the help of the drug deactivation pouch, Deterra.

The program will provide 50,000 drug deactivation pouches, free of charge. The attorney general chose Perry, Floyd, McCracken, and Henderson counties, to launch the pilot program in part because of their high concentration of opioid prescriptions. The attorney general called the medicine cabinet one of the most dangerous places in the home.

"And I'm very concerned with the opioids that have sat in people's medicine cabinets for years; for five for ten years," Beshear said. "Our seniors were raised at a time when sometimes they were even taught to keep those medications. We've got to make sure that we get rid of all of them."

Kentuckians will be able to place their unused medication into the pouch, fill it with warm water, wait 30 seconds, seal the pouch, and shake the pouch before disposing of it in normal trash. One pouch destroys 45 pills, six ounces of liquid or six patches.

Former Governor Steve Beshear's non-profit, A Stronger Kentucky Inc., donated $100,000 to get this project up and running. The attorney general says he will seek further funding for this program in the upcoming legislative year.

The pouches are already available at many Walmart stores.