Butler County church distributes drug deactivation pouches in hopes of preventing addiction

HAMILTON, Ohio -- A Butler County church is doing its part to decrease the amount of unused prescription pain pills in the community.

Trinity Episcopal Church has been distributing drug deactivation pouches for several months. Each pouch can dispose up to 45 pills, six ounces or six patches of medication.

Rev. Suzanne LeVesconte said she thinks the pouches will help prevent opiate addiction in the community. 

“When people say it doesn’t have anything to do with me— it does because ... we’re all one family,” LeVesconte said.

The Butler County Coalition for Healthy, Safe and Drug Free Communities distributed 5,000 of the pouches last month.

Lauren Marsh, director of the coalition, said the usual methods for disposing of unused medicines — flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash — both pose potential safety and health hazards.

Unused prescriptions are highly susceptible to misuse and abuse, Marsh said. 

“Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet,” Marsh said. “More than 50 percent of abused prescription drugs are obtained from a relative or a friend.”

The pouches are easy to use; users simply fill the pouches with pills, add water and shake.

Jennifer Williams, a registered nurse at TriHealth Bethesda Butler Hospital, said the pouches serve two purposes. Along with aiding in the proper disposal of drugs, they also help spread awareness.

“It gets it out of people’s medicine cabinets and not only that, but it starts a conversation with our patients so they understand the importance of getting rid of medicines they don’t use,” Williams said.

Butler County Health Commissioner Jenny Bailer said efforts to address the drug problem are important to help battle overdose deaths in the county.

If overdose deaths continue their trend through the first half of this year, there will be 278 overdose deaths at the end of the year, according to Bailer.

LeVesconte said she is confident they will make a difference in the community.

“As hard as it is, It’s not a hopeless thing,” LeVesconte said.

WCPO media partner The Journal-News contributed to this report. 

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