MANSFIELD, OH — The Richland County Youth Substance Use Coalition is seeking community partners to help distribute free, safe medication disposal kits.
The coalition, led by Richland Public Health, received more than 5,000 Deterra drug deactivation pouches from Ohio’s SafeRx Collaborative and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. These kits will allow residents to safely and easily deactivate and dispose of leftover prescription pills, patches and liquids.
“This is a great tool that we want community members in need to have,” said Gurpinder Deol, health educator at RPH. “It will be especially helpful to have businesses and organizations involved so that people who deal with transportation and/or distance barriers can have access.”
Businesses and other organizations willing to help distribute packets can sign up here. Distribution will continue until packets run out.
Each Deterra pouch contains a water-soluble pod of activated carbon that, when combined with warm water, can deactivate leftover prescription medication pills, patches and liquids.
According to the company’s website, the pouch is made with environmentally sound materials that are almost completely biodegradable. The kits are also non-toxic and can be thrown away in regular household trash.
Packets are free and there is no per household limit, but recipients will be asked to complete a brief survey for each packet. The survey will not ask for any identifying information, but will ask some demographic information such as gender, race, age and zip code.
The Youth Substance Coalition will use the survey information to inform its action plan to decrease youth substance use in Richland County.
“We will have the opportunity to not only protect our environment from improper disposal of medications, but also learn about the types of medications community members are needing to dispose,” Deol said. “Collecting this information is very valuable, especially when determining the areas in Richland County that need better access to proper drug disposal methods and the populations who need additional resources, support, and education on medication safety.”
While the Youth Substance Coalition will focus primarily on students at Mansfield Middle and Mansfield Senior High School, drug deactivation packets will be available to residents in all 10 counties served by METRICH — Ashland, Crawford, Knox, Hancock, Huron, Marion, Morrow, Richland, Seneca, and Wyandot.
Distribution has begun at Richland Public Health and all nine Third Street Family Health Services locations. Anyone interested in picking up a packet at Richland Public Health should contact Gurpinder Deol at 419-774-4754 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Shannon Nelson at 419-774-4761 to set up a time, as Richland Public Health is open to the public by appointment only.