Pharmacies offer free at-home drug disposal kits

As part of the state’s ongoing effort to combat the misuse of opioids, more than 600 pharmacies across Connecticut are offering at-home drug deactivation and disposal kits to residents free of charge.

The kits, which were donated to the state by global specialty biopharmaceutical company Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, allow people to deactivate, destroy and safely dispose of prescription medications right from home.

Each biodegradable Deterra drug disposal kit can deactivate and destroy up to 45 pills simply by the addition of warm water. After medication is placed inside the pouch of the kit and water is added, the inner pod dissolves and MAT12®-activated carbon (charcoal) is released.

The resulting solution dissolves any prescription pills, patches and liquids that were placed inside the kit, allowing them to be adsorbed by the carbon and rendering them inert and irretrievable. Afterward, the kits can be thrown in the trash.

To get the kits into the hands of consumers, state agencies have partnered with pharmacies throughout the state to help distribute them to residents free of charge.

Participating pharmacies include Big Y, CVS, Price Chopper, Rite Aid, ShopRite, Stop & Shop, Walgreens, Walmart, and other independent outlets.

Although Wilton’s Stop & Shop Pharmacy at 5 River Road does not carry the at-home drug disposal kits and a pharmacist at the CVS Pharmacy at 93 Old Ridgefield Road could not be reached, other area pharmacies offering the kits include:

  • Walmart Pharmacy at 680 Main Avenue in Norwalk

  • Rite Aid at 190 East Avenue in Norwalk

  • Bissell Pharmacy at 23 Governor Street in Ridgefield

  • Lang’s Pharmacy at 190 Weston Road in Weston

“Opioid misuse from prescription drugs can affect anyone of any age or background — nobody is immune,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said in a Dec. 22 press release.

“We’ve unfortunately heard many stories from residents whose addiction began when they were prescribed a few pills to help with a certain medical condition, and then led them down a path of addiction and overdose.”

Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman said the proper disposal of leftover prescription drugs is “one way to help stem the overdose epidemic and save lives.”

“Innovations like these pouches address the very real threat of unused meds being abused, and give consumers an easy opportunity to do the right thing in a way that is healthier for the environment,” she said.

Attorney General George Jepsen said the opioid epidemic is “a complex problem that requires a multifaceted solution” and “no one, single measure or initiative is going to solve the problems with opioid abuse, addiction and overdose that we face as a state and a community.”

However, he said, “every step that we take will help to address an aspect of the epidemic and, hopefully, save lives.”

“I would urge Connecticut residents to take advantage of this free and convenient opportunity to dispose of unused medications and to join us in addressing this continuing problem,” said Jepsen.

Unused medications may also be dropped off at Wilton police headquarters, at the town hall campus, on Route 7. The disposal container is available 24 hours a day, every day.