Tippecanoe County leaders hope a small medicine disposal bag will help fight the Opioid epidemic

The medicine disposal bag is non-toxic and can be thrown away like regular trash.

Posted: Mar 29, 2019 6:16 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — The Tippecanoe County Health Department is introducing a new way to dispose of medicine.

Indiana ranks ninth in the nation for the number of residents prescribed to opioids. Tippecanoe County ranks within the top 10 of that list according to the Tippecanoe County Health Department.

Amanda Balser with TCHD is spearheading a new movement to get unused medicine outside of the home. The movement is a medication disposal bag that deactivates pills, liquid medicine, and medicine patches.

“You can just put the pills in there, you put water in it shake it up so this will be more convenient for people and it will take the prescription pills and get rid of them,” said Balser.

Inside the bag is a material that breaks down the drugs compounds. It all becomes non-toxic and can be thrown away like regular trash. And the bag itself is biodegradable.

“People don't want their names on something that tells, hey this is what I take every day,” said Balser. “We just need to get past that stigma and this doesn't give you any stigma at all.”

The Tippecanoe County Health Department is partnering with Purdue Boiler Works. The organization works for drug abuse education and community outreach and has given out 20,000 bags. The bags will be given out at various community events for free.

“We feel as though it's a very important beginning step to begin to reduce the number of loose opioids and other medications in the community,” said Boiler Works Program Director Cathy Scott.

Scott is looking forward to a future of less drug abuse in the county and state.

“If we can make it easy to get these distributed, to make them available on the community level I think that that would represent a major accomplishment.”

The Tippecanoe County Health Department will be handing out bags to pharmacies and local businesses Apr. 17. Each bag is stapled with a postcard.

Medicine bags can be disposed of at home but the department is encouraging the community to mail in the postcards. The postcard is for research purposes and only requires a zip code.

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