EVANSVILLE — Small pouches used to safely dispose of unused medications will be available at Evansville fire stations, officials announced Monday.

Thousands of the pouches, which carry the Deterra label, will be distributed to Evansville Fire Department stations.

"We basically have an unlimited supply," Evansville Fire Department Chief Mike Connelly said.

Each station will receive 10 at first to help determine where demand is greatest. They will also be distributed at EMS stations at the Fall Festival.

Deterra, made by Minneapolis-based Verde Technologies is billed as a drug deactivation system. According to the manufacturer, there's a small pod inside each bag containing activated carbon, which dissolves in warm water. The carbon absorbs the drugs in the pouch to permanently deactivate them.

The company advertises the pouches as a way to curb the opioid epidemic and reduce pollution by keeping the pills out of sewer systems.

According to the instructions on the back of the pouch, a person can place pills, patches or liquids inside to use it. The user then adds warm water. After 30 seconds, you shake the contents of the bag and throw the pouch away.

The program came about as a partnership between Deterra, the Professional Fire Fighters' Union of Indiana, and the Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative (RALI) of Indiana. It was brought to the city with the help of the local firefighters' union and Mayor Lloyd Winnecke's administration.

Connelly said the program comes at no cost to city taxpayers. The unveiling in Evansville was part of a donation from RALI Indiana, which announced Monday it is giving 75,000 of the pouches to fire departments throughout the state, according to a new release from the organization.

A pack of three medium sized pouches typically retails for $17.97, according to the company's website.

"We're going to save lives by preventing unused opioid prescriptions from falling into the hands of people that may use them improperly," Connelly said.

According to Connelly, the EFD administers 20 to 30 doses of naloxone, also known as Narcan, to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose each month.

"It's going to hopefully reduce the number of runs that we make on emergency overdoses because then the drugs will be out of reach," he said,

Forty-four people died of opioid overdoses in Evansville last year, and that number could be higher in 2019, according to Vanderburgh County Coroner Steve Lockyear.

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