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    Partnering to Address Drug Problems

pile of prescription drug bottles 16x9
FAIRMONT, Minn. — Mayo Clinic Health System and numerous Martin County law enforcement agencies have partnered to distribute free drug deactivation pouches throughout area communities to offer a more convenient, safe and environmentally friendly method for disposing unused prescription drugs. The mechanism is 99 percent effective in rendering narcotics, antibiotics and transdermal patches disabled.

Starting in February, Mayo Clinic Health System patients in Fairmont, Sherburn, and Truman, Minnesota began receiving a drug deactivation pouch at the time of their medication pickup. Martin County law enforcement agencies will deliver the pouches to certain community groups and citizens as well.

The drug deactivation system uses a molecular absorption technology to neutralize active chemicals in prescription drugs when water is added. A small pouch can deactivate up to 15 pills, two ounces of liquid or two patches. In addition, the packaging is biodegradable and safe for landfills.

drug packet
“Medication abuse is a serious concern all throughout the United States, and Fairmont isn’t immune,” says Perry Sweeten, Pharm.D., Mayo Clinic Health System regional director of Pharmacy. “Through this collaborative effort with law enforcement, we’re offering an efficient, effective way to reduce the improper use of controlled substances and simplify disposal.”

Per federal regulations, Mayo Clinic Health System isn’t allowed to take back controlled substance prescription medications. As abuse of medications not prescribed to the offending person is rising, safe disposal reduces access to these drugs with the intent to misuse.

“Prescription pill misuse and addiction is one of several substance problems negatively impacting our youth, adults and community,” says Greg Brolsma, City of Fairmont police chief. “The most recent Minnesota Student Survey of Martin County youth shows misuse of pharmaceuticals to be almost twice as high as the Minnesota state average. Disposing leftover pills is one of many important ways to combat that problem."

Partners include Mayo Clinic Health System, Fairmont Police Department, Dunnell Police Department, Martin County Sheriff’s Department, Sherburn/Welcome Police Department, Trimont Police Department and Truman Police Department.

The Mayo Clinic Health System in Fairmont Foundation funded the purchase of the drug deactivation pouches.

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Mayo Clinic Health System consists of clinics, hospitals and other health care facilities that serve the health care needs of people in more than 60 communities in Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The community-based providers, paired with the resources and expertise of Mayo Clinic, enable patients in the region to receive the highest-quality health care close to home.