DCHD Begins Mailing Drug Deactivation System to Residents

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Released: January 9, 2024

The Delaware County Health Department (DCHD), in partnership with Delaware County Council held a press availability on Monday, December 18th, to announce the launch of its Deterra Drug Deactivation System pouch and awareness postcard mailing campaign as part of Delaware County’s use of opioid settlement funds.

DCHD is bringing this public health harm reduction strategy directly to residents and is pleased that Deterra pouches and awareness postcards will be shipped to 165,289 county residential addresses in randomly chosen zip codes—approximately 70% of all residential addresses in the county— just in time for the holidays. Most residents can expect to see them as early as next week. DCHD hopes to be able to mail to remaining addresses next year, contingent on additional opioid settlement funding being designated for this purpose.

These non-toxic pouches are an organic and safe alternative for proper disposal of unused, unwanted and expired medications with the simple addition of water. In a simple 3-step process, residents deactivate drugs by putting them in the Deterra pouch, adding water, shaking, and throwing them away in the household garbage. DCHD will be issuing medium-sized Deterra pouches that can deactivate up to 45 pills.

“Public Health 3.0 is about meeting residents where they are," said Delaware County Health Department Director Melissa Lyon. “Not only do these pouches reduce the potential for abuse of opioids, safely destroy unwanted drugs, and help protect the environment they reduce barriers by helping residents skip the trip to drug drop off box locations.”

The Deterra pouches help protect the environment by preventing pharmaceutical drugs from contaminating water supply and landfills. Critically, the Deterra pouches and awareness postcards help destigmatize substance use disorders, reminding residents of resources for help in the county, and reducing avenues for drug abuse and addiction.

"The Deterra Drug Deactivation System is a game-changer in our fight against the drug overdose epidemic," said Council Chair Dr. Taylor. "It provides a discreet, effective way to dispose of unused medications, helping to destigmatize substance use disorders while supporting individuals and families impacted by this crisis." Don’t Ditch! Deactivate. Recipients are urged not to dispose of these pouches before they can be used. If there is no immediate need for their use in the home, please store and save them for later use. The pouches do not have an expiration date. Residents who receive but do not want to keep these pouches are asked to share them with family members or neighbors who can use them.

For more information and assistance, the Delaware County Health Department Wellness Line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In addition to responding to phone calls, the Wellness Line also responds to email inquiries.

Phone: (484) 276-2100 (Available 24/7)
Email: DelcoWellness@co.delaware.pa.us

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Delaware County, presently consisting of over 184 square miles divided into forty-nine municipalities is the oldest settled section of Pennsylvania.

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