GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Trillium Health, in partnership with Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, announced Tuesday that Pitt County would receive 10,000 disposable medicine kits to help battle the opioid epidemic.
The kits utilize water and activated carbon to neutralize and deactivate medications, including opiods, to reduce the risk of the medicine getting into the wrong hands.
In 2016 alone, there were 10.6 million opioid pills prescribed in Pitt County alone.
“12 percent of our students here are using prescription drugs without a prescription,” said Elizabeth Montgomery Lee with the Pitt County Coalition on Substance Abuse.
The kits make it easier for those people living in rural areas or who have transportation or mobility issues to get rid of unwanted prescriptions safely.
Each kit can hold up to 45 pills, 6 ounces of liquid, or 6 patches.
To use the kits, all you need to do is open it, pour in the medication, add warm water, and then close the bag.
“After 15 minutes everything that is inside is in big chunks, so it’s extremely hard to pull apart,” said Julian Malasi with Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals.
Earlier in 2017, the North Carolina General Assembly passed the STOP Act to combat opioid issues. Currently, four North Carolina cities rank in the nation’s top 20 for opiod abuse, including Wilmington and Jacksonville.
“This epidemic seeks to literally tear apart the fragile fabric of our social structure,” said Rep. Greg Murphy of Pitt County, one the writers of the STOP Act.
The STOP Act aims to combat the growing issue by reducing the number of pain killers and opioids written by doctors in the first place.
“It requires constant vigilance and maintenance to keep the disease at bay,” Murphy said.
From 1999 to 2016, more than 12,000 North Carolinians died from opioid-related overdoses. Since 1999, the deaths have increased by nearly 400 percent.
The kits donated will help those in Pitt, and surrounding counties, safely dispose of unneeded medication.