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Clackamas County Offering New Option for Safe Drug Disposal

By Clackamas County

Clackamas County Offering New Option for Safe Drug Disposal

Clackamas County is now offering free Deterra medication disposal pouches to help residents dispose of unused drugs safely. These pouches are available at 20 convenient locations throughout the county.
“When you keep unused drugs in your home, they may be taken by people who shouldn’t take them—including children,” said Dr. Sarah Present, Clackamas County Health Officer. “Using Deterra medication disposal pouches is one way people can help prevent drug misuse and accidental ingestion.”

Clackamas County is seeing rising rates of drug overdose. Vital statistics data indicates a 109% increase in drug-induced fatalities from 2019 to 2022.

In addition to preventing drug misuse, using Deterra pouches prevents drugs from getting into rivers and streams. “We urge people not to flush their medications down the toilet,” said Clackamas Water Environment Services Director Greg Geist. “Wastewater treatment plants are not equipped to completely remove pharmaceuticals from the wastewater.”

Last summer, the Clackamas County District Attorney’s Office—led by John Wentworth—gave away Deterra pouches at the county fair. Wentworth said the pouches are a great approach to help people dispose of either unwanted prescription or illicit drugs. Utilizing these pouches for opioids, where the narcotic effects can initially be soothing, also can dissuade people from ingesting opioids when they may not need them.
“These Deterra pouches really go a long way in offering an alternative to other approaches being tried in other communities, specifically to rid our streets of opioids,” Wentworth said. “We hope these pouches play a key role solving the opioid crisis from a criminal justice perspective and ultimately make our communities safer.”

Deterra can be used to safely deactivate and dispose of unneeded pills, patches, liquids, creams and films at home. Deterra pouches can also be used to dispose of illicit substances such as fentanyl. There are a small number of medications they cannot be used for, like antiacids, lithium or biologics. They also cannot be used for cannabis.

To use a Deterra pouch, you simply place the drug in the pouch, fill it halfway with water, seal it tightly, give it a gentle shake and dispose of it in the trash. The drug is then deactivated, unavailable for misuse and safe for the environment.

All Clackamas County Deterra pouch pick-up locations are listed on the Clackamas County website. Find information about other safe drug disposal options at

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