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Safe Storage and Disposal of Opioids
In this section:
- Local Drug Collection Boxes
- At Home Disposal of Unwanted Medication
- Safe Storage
Local Drug Collection Boxes
Did you know that you can safely drop off prescription medication at local Police Departments? These boxes are secured in the lobby of the police department, and are accessible anytime the department is open.
No paperwork, no questions asked, just drop the approved unwanted medications in and they will be safely and securely destroyed.
Effective July 8, 2019: The CT Department of Consumer Protection can also approve 50 prescription drug drop boxes in retail pharmacies each year. Please see CT Regulations §§ 20-576a-1—20-576a-7 under Title 20 which includes information on the Department of Consumer Protection’s Return of Prescription Drugs to Pharmacies. NVHD is not aware of any drug drop boxes in retail pharmacies.
What happens to the medication?
The most common method of rendering pharmaceutical controlled substances non-retrievable is incineration. See the table below for the amount of medication burned (lbs) in CT by year.
For a complete list of active drop box programs in Connecticut, please visit the Department of Public Health Local Drug Collection Boxes website here.
At Home Disposal of Unwanted Medication
Valley residents including, elderly, homebound, or those with transportation difficulties may contact the Naugatuck Valley Health District by calling 203-881-3255 to obtain a safe medication disposal pouch free of cost and while supplies last.
NVHD currently has a limited supply of Deterra Drug Deactivation System pouches in sizes medium and large.
Deterra will deactivate any organic medications including opioids. However, it will not adsorb any metals such as Iron or lithium contained in a small number of medications. If your medication has specific disposal instructions, please follow the directions as given.
Each Deterra pouch contains a water-soluble inner pod containing proprietary MAT12® activated carbon. Once the drugs are placed in the pouch, add warm water from your sink faucet. This will dissolve the inner pod releasing the activated carbon. Deterra works on pills, patches and liquids, allowing them to be adsorbed by the carbon, rendering them inert and non-retrievable.
For more information about Deterra, please visit their website by clicking here.
Why Not Flush?
Flushed medications can get into our lakes, rivers and streams. Research has shown that continuous exposure to low levels of medications has altered the behavior and physiology of fish and aquatic organisms. Pharmaceuticals enter our wastewater from a variety of sources, including the flushing of unused medications. A nationwide study done in 1999 and 2000 by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) found low levels of drugs such as antibiotics, hormones, contraceptives and steroids in 80% of the rivers and streams tested.