If you have old medicine that needs to be thrown away, there's now a safe and easy way to do it. Take-home drug deactivation kits are now available to central Virginians with excessive or unused prescription drugs.
The commonwealth is distributing these kits with the goal of removing 3.6 million unused prescription pills from Virginia homes.
Attorney General Mark Herring secured the donation of 80,000 disposal kits from Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticalsto health departments to combat Virginia’s opioid crisis.
The kits are free and make sure prescription medicines are disposed of properly.
Officials at the Central Shenandoah Valley Office on Youth say these kits also prevent the drugs from getting into the wrong hands.
“We want folks to dispose of their drugs so youth aren't getting them, then second to that is the environment. Flushing them down the toilet or burying them in the back yard is certainly not the proper way to dispose them,” said Kari Jones of the Augusta Prevention Department.
Starting next week, you can get a kit in Greene County, Augusta County, Staunton, and Charlottesville.
Employees at the office locations encourage you to call in advance before visiting to grab a kit.
To see the nearest distribution site to your location, click here.
Commonwealth of Virginia Office of the Attorney General Press Release:
Beginning today, Virginians with excess or unused prescription opioids or other drugs can pick up a drug deactivation kit at one of dozens of locations throughout the Commonwealth. Attorney General Mark R. Herring secured the donation of 80,000 drug deactivation kits capable of safely disposing of 3.6 million leftover prescription pills as part of his comprehensive strategy to address the heroin and prescription opioid crisis. Kits are being distributed at Virginia Department of Health Clinics, Community Service Boards, and law enforcement, healthcare, and nonprofit agencies in every community in Virginia. The list of distribution sites is listed below, as well as an interactive map of sites, and Virginians are encouraged to call before going to pick up a kit to confirm availability.
"Disposing of unused and unneeded prescriptions is an important part of fighting the opioid crisis that so often starts in the medicine cabinet with abuse or misuse of otherwise legally prescribed painkillers," said Attorney General Herring. "These kits are going to make it easy for Virginians to safely and quickly dispose of excess prescriptions before they can be abused, misused, or accidentally ingested. I'm really glad we were able to make these so widely available through our partnership with VDH and other community partners around the Commonwealth."
All kits are available at no charge to Virginians or the Commonwealth. Approximately 50,000 kits are being distributed in partnership with the Virginia Department of Health, while an additional 30,000 are being distributed through local hospitals, law enforcement agencies, pharmacies, and nonprofits that applied to distribute kits.
There is a strong link between misuse of prescription opioids, opioid addiction, and even later use of heroin once prescriptions become too expensive or are no longer accessible. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse:
Half of young people who used heroin got started by abusing prescription opioids.
One in fifteen individuals who misuse prescription opioid painkillers will try heroin within 10 years.
The number of opioid prescriptions has nearly tripled over the last 25 years, and the United States now accounts for nearly 100 percent of the world's hydrocodone prescriptions and 81 percent for oxycodone.
The number of Americans abusing heroin nearly doubled from 2007 to 2012, with nearly 700,000 now abusing heroin.
In Virginia, abuse and overdose deaths continue to rise:
Prescription opioid overdose deaths have risen 44 percent between 2007 and 2015, from 399 deaths to 576.
Heroin overdose deaths have risen more than 600 percent between 2010 and 2015, from 48 to 342.
Fentanyl deaths have risen 367 percent from 2007 to 2015, from 48 to 224.
More than 500 people went to a Virginia emergency room from a heroin overdose in the first four months of 2016, a 250% increase over 2015.