PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - In 2002, Josiah Osego of Tucson was getting addicted to opioids. "It was the prescription drugs first," he said. "We're learning, like, 'Hey, my grandmother has that [valium] stuff. Let's go get it." He's been successfully recovering for 12 years now, and he says drug disposal bags will be a huge benefit to the whole community.
Seventy percent of people with head injuries are discharged from the hospital with at least one prescription, including an opioid. Drug deactivation system pouches help you get rid of leftover drugs so you don't fall into temptation that could lead to addiction.
"You tear open this bag, put your prescription medication inside, seal it up, and dispose of your medication in the trash," said Carrie Collins, CEO of Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona (BIAAZ). "[The chemicals inside] will dissolve and deactivate [the drugs] so that they can't be used, they're no longer dangerous," recovery support specialist Liz Bradley said.
BIAAZ just got a donation of 4,000 of the bags from RALI (RX Abuse Leadership Initiative) and they're including them in care kits for people coming out of the hospital. "These kits are trying to help -- that if you are in recovery, you healing from injury doesn't need to end with you back in addiction," Osego said.
BIAAZ is also including medication lockboxes that make it difficult to take too many pills -- or take them too often. The packages will also have a dose of overdose-reversing Narcan, which Phoenix Police officers have used to save 216 people since they started carrying the drug with them two years ago.
All it takes is about the size of a grain of sand. Just that tiny amount, and the drug fentanyl can become a killer.
Bradley says the drug disposal pouches are an easy way to keep medicine out of the wrong hands.
"It's great to be able to do it right at home, because there are those drop-offs but you have to know when they are, where they are, be able to make it, and this is so much more convenient."