Health experts say small black foil bags are key components to helping combat the opioid epidemic.
The Deterra bags are designed to safely dispose of medications that kill thousands of people in the U.S. every year. If the drugs can be taken from medicine cabinets and thrown away, they can be kept from users who might abuse them, officials said.
Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative Indiana, also known as RALI, announced the donation of 15,000 of the disposal kits to the Drug and Alcohol Consortium of Allen County at a news conference Wednesday.
"Safe drug disposal could keep someone prone to addiction from ever trying an opioid," Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry said in a statement. "Safe disposal could save lives and, thanks to these resources and education, we are another step closer to controlling this epidemic."
Nearly 65,000 Americans died from drug overdoses including opioids in 2016, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of those, about 60 percent were abusing prescription drugs, said Arthur Dean, a retired Army general who is chairman and CEO of the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America.
There were 127 fatal drug overdoses in Fort Wayne in 2017, up from 68 the year before.
"The opioid epidemic is going to take a comprehensive approach that employs multiple strategies to create population-level reductions to this problem," Dean said in a news release.
Consortium Executive Director MaryClare Akers said the kits will be distributed to organizations including home health care agencies and hospitals. Individuals can get one by calling the agency at 422-8412, she said.
Packages of three bags range from $14.97 for 2-ounce pouches to $20.97 for 20-ounce pouches on Deterra's website.
For more on this story, see Thursday's print edition of The Journal Gazette or visit www.journalgazette.net after 1 a.m. Thursday.