Broome County announces new overdose prevention pilot program

The Deterra Drug Deactivation System is a pouch that allows for the disposal of unused, unwanted and expired medications at home.
Deterra Bag
Deterra Bag(Maci Cosmore)
Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 6:46 PM EDT
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BINGHAMTON (WBNG) -- Two Broome County coalitions are partnering with the main hospital systems in the community to prioritize medication safety.

“Right now in Broome County, we’ve seen a total of 56 fatal overdoses that are suspected,” said Broome County Opioid Prevention Coordinator Marissa Knapp. “That number is the highest number we’ve seen so far.”

With more than four months of 2022 left, that number is expected to grow.

Which is why Broome County, with the help pf the Broome Opioid Awareness Council and Prevention Coalition of Broome County is adding another resource to fight the opioid epidemic in our community.

“Starting today, all short-term opioid prescriptions filled at Lourdes and UHS pharmacies will come with one of these Deterra pouches,” Broome County Executive Jason Garnar said.

The Deterra Drug Deactivation System is a pouch that allows for the disposal of unused, unwanted and expired medications at home.

“A lot of times people lock up their alcohol at home and their firearms at home, but we don’t really think about locking up medications,” Knapp said.

The pouches use activated carbon to deactivate drugs, and the process can take seconds. Once pills are poured into the pouch, warm water is added and deactivation begins immediately.

According to Deterra, back extraction of the deactivated drugs is not effective.

“As often these prescriptions which are given to people recovering from an injury or surgery that lead down the path of substance use disorders,” Garnar said. “By disposing of unused medications safely, we can help avoid these devastating stories that we’ve heard way too many times and will ultimately save lives.”

The one-year pilot program is being sponsored by the State Opioid Response Funding as well as county funds.

UHS received about 7,000 bags and Lourdes received about 3,500.