Kelly Juleson-Scopino, co-president of the Governor's Prevention Partnership, demonstrates how to use a Deterra drug deactivation pouch on Oct. 30, 2023. The Governor's Prevention Partnership

State officials are planning to distribute 50,000 prescription drug deactivation pouches as part of a $1.2 million federal campaign against drug misuse.

The goal is to give people a convenient way to dispose of unused or expired opioids, or other prescription drugs, so they’re not misused and do not pollute the environment.

Kelly Juleson-Scopino demonstrated how to pour expired liquid medication into one of the disposal pouches. The pouches can also destroy unwanted pills, most illicit drugs, vape fluids, and opioids including fentanyl.

“Tear off the top, open it, so I’m gonna pour it in here,” Juleson-Scopino, co-president of the Governor’s Prevention Partnership, said. “I’m going to put some regular tap water in with it. And there’s a carbon-activated filler at the bottom of this pouch.”

When water is added, the carbon substance inside the pouch renders the drugs inactive.

“We’re going to give it a second, shake it up, close it, and it’s ready to throw out,” Juleson-Scopino said.

Unwanted prescription drugs can also be safely disposed of at drug collection boxes at police departments and some pharmacies around the state.

Roland Harmon, co-president of the anti-substance abuse group Governor’s Prevention Partnership, said the pouches are another option to help families prevent overdoses.

“We’re hoping to provide families with additional tools, with additional resources, to address the opioid crisis,” Harmon said. “And make a major impact in the lives of thousands of young people across our state.”

Organizers, who spoke at the state Capitol on Monday, said the effort was prompted after a 13-year-old seventh grader died following an opioid overdose last year. The student, and two others, became ill at the Sport and Medical Sciences Academy in Hartford and were rushed to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

The incident renewed calls for education and bystander intervention training, after police said the school didn’t have any naloxone, a medication that reverses an opioid overdose and is available from certain pharmacists across the state.

How to get free drug-deactivation pouches

Those interested in receiving free drug deactivation pouches can fill out a form at the bottom of the prevention effort’s web page.