Will Drug Deactivation Pouches Help Louisiana Fight the Opioid Drug Epidemic?

In the fight to safely dispose of all unused and unwanted addictive medications, Louisiana Attorney

Open Bottle of Prescription Drugs

In the fight to safely dispose of all unused and unwanted addictive medications, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry recently passed SB 26, a piece of legislation that provides medical professionals with the ability to legally dispose of the unused medications of patients who are deceased. Specifically, a partnership with Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals was revealed, a partnership that will provide the state of Louisiana with up to 30,000 free drug deactivation pouches. When combined with the other measures being employed across the state, free access to drug deactivation pouches will make it that much easier to decrease the harm of dangerous drugs.

How It Works

According to Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturers of the drug deactivation pouches, each pouch contains carbon and is activated when between 10 and 15 pills and water are added to it. It is recommended to wait about 30 minutes, then seal the pouch. At that point, the ingredients are activated, the medications are deactivated, and the pouch can be safely disposed of in the garbage.

Why It Matters

For people who have leftover painkillers after a prescription for acute pain management, or who change medications and have remainders from a previous script at home, proper medication disposal is important. When extra pills are stored in the medicine cabinet, it is more likely that someone in the family may use them nonmedically (e.g., to treat a headache, for recreational use, or to relieve stress).

Nonmedical use of painkillers for any reason, especially when combined with use of other addictive substances, can lead to a drug use problem. For many, it can exacerbate an existing substance use disorder. For others, it can be the beginnings of a lifelong struggle with opioid addiction or the cause of opioid overdose. The ability to dispose of these drugs safely can mean the difference between life and death.

How to Get Drug Deactivation Pouches

If you are in need of a drug deactivation pouch, you may be able to talk to your doctor and get one. In the context of SB 26, drug deactivation pouches will only be made available to hospitals and hospices that sign the Memorandum of Understanding with the Attorney General’s Office. However, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals will make a pack of six deactivation packets available free of charge to any healthcare provider through an application on their site, so if your doctor is interested in making the packets available to patients, you can point them to Mallinckrodt.

More Safe Disposal Options

The focus of SB 26 was to put the drug deactivation pouches into the hands of medical professionals who must frequently handle the unused medications of patients who die while in medical care.

For the general public and anyone who is looking for ways to clean out potentially dangerous and unwanted drugs from their medicine cabinets, the new prescription drug take-back boxes that are increasingly available across the state offer an easy alternative, especially if you have a number of medications to dispose of at once. These boxes are another project of Louisiana Attorney General Landry in partnership with the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana. To find a box near you, check out End the Epidemic.

Is Your Loved One Struggling with an Opioid Addiction?

If someone in your family is living with an opioid use disorder that started with abuse of prescription painkillers, there is hope through treatment. Even if your loved one has started using heroin in addition to painkillers or switched entirely to heroin use and abuse, a drug rehab program that offers intensive medical detox followed by a personalized therapeutic treatment plan and long-term aftercare and support can help.

Getting unwanted prescription painkillers out of the house and keeping addictive drugs that are prescribed to family members under lock and key is a good start to helping your loved one heal. The next step is to find the right treatment program for their needs, one that will offer them all that is needed to make a strong start in recovery. Are you ready to take action and get information that will help you connect your loved one with comprehensive care?

Since joining the Townsend content team, Shlomo has become a thought leader in the addiction field. He is a Seinfeld junkie, a recovering Twitter fanatic, and a sports expert. He enjoys milk shakes and beautiful views from rooftops.