FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT)- The opioid epidemic continues to plague Allen County. Research shows 60 percent of all people facing addiction get their drugs from friends or family members.
But, health officials are working to get ahead of it with a new drug disposal kit known as Deterra.
The black, foil pouches look simple, but they actually use molecular technology to deactivate drugs.
Allen County is the first place in Indiana to get them, but success has already been seen in New Hampshire, Maryland, and Nevada.
"If you don't need these medications, it's a safe and simple way to dispose of them, not expensive, easy-peasy, and I think it's something that we can all do," said Dr. Deb McMahan with the Allen County Health Department.
Deterra is easy to use. You simple tear open the pouch, fill it half way with water, and wait 30 seconds. Next, seal it, shake it, and throw it away.
Dr. McMahan said it's a way to keep your unused medications from getting in the wrong hands.
"Sometimes we write more than what the patient needs, and people tend to hoard those and think they'll use them later, and unfortunately, in this day and age, that's a little unsafe. It just provides an opportunity for someone else to maybe start something that they're not going to be able to control," she said.
The pouches normally cost about 4 dollars a piece, but no local dollars are being spent. Through a grant, RALI Indiana, or Prescription Abuse Leadership Initiative, is distributing 15,000 of them in the area.
MaryClare Akers with the Allen County Drug and Alcohol Consortium says anyone can contact them for the pouches.
"We are going to see kind of what the need is, what the demand is in the area. We're working with the Lutheran Foundation for assistance with distributing the pouches to all the different mental health providers in the area," she said.
But, the hope is to have them at pharmacies in the future.
Deterra will be presented in Indianapolis Thursday and is expected to spread through the state.