Pilot program tackles opioid addiction prevention

PADUCAH, KY — The opioid epidemic is impacting millions across our nation. The fight continues in Paducah after Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear announced a pilot program aimed at addiction prevention.

“What do Kentuckians do when they have unused prescription medication? How do they safely get rid of them?” Beshear asked during a news conference.

Those questions led to the formation of the Kentucky Opioid Disposal Program. Through the program, community members will be able to receive free biodegradable bags. McCracken County Sheriff Jon Hayden will oversee implementation, and he said bags will make it easier for people to safely discard old and unused medications.

“You basically open up the package, you put the medication in the package, and then you fill it with warm water.” Hayden said.

The chemical agent in the bag then renders the drugs totally safe to dispose of by flushing down the toilet or discarding the bag in the trash.

Beshear said the program has the potential to dispose of 2.2 million opioids. After hearing about the program, pharmacist and Davis Drugs owner Marshall Davis said he thinks it’s a positive move for our county.

“Hopefully this will be a useful program that people will start using it and be receptive to it. It could have a great impact.” Davis said.

As the sheriff’s department waits to receive the 10,000 bags for McCracken County, Hayden is ready to get started.

“We’re up to the challenge, anything we can do to make our community a safe place to live.” Hayden said.

The McCracken County Sheriff’s Department will work with area hospitals, treatment centers, and other city agencies to ensure the disposal kits are effectively distributed.