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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Homes with leftover prescription drugs have a new and safe way to dispose of them. There are 15,000 Deterra drug deactivation systems being given to Drug Free Marion County to keep unused drugs from being abused by others.

The announcement came from the Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative (RALI) Indiana Thursday morning at the 2018 Indiana Public Health Conference.

Deterra is a small pouch that can hold up to 45 pills, six ounces of liquid, or six patches. Once drugs are placed inside, the pouch needs to be filled roughly halfway with warm water. After a 30 second wait, the pouch needs to be sealed tightly, gently shaken and then it can be thrown in the garbage.

“These are so simple,” said Drug Free Marion County executive director Randy Miller.

Miller’s office is looking at the best options to get the pouches to people who need them. Thanks to a grant, the 15,000 pouches going to his office are all free. He expected them to be passed out over the next few months.

“They aren’t going to be terribly expensive after that,” Miller said. “So, folks can actually have them at home.”

Unused drugs can already be taken to drop off locations, but some people may not be able to find them or may not be able to easily get to a location. Deterra allows people to conveniently dispose of their prescriptions without leaving their home.

Many officials leading the way to combat the state’s drug problem say a lot of people become addicted to drugs after getting started with prescription pills. That’s the story for Kristy Nelson, who lost her son from an overdose in 2009.

“I found him the morning of my birthday in his room,” Nelson said.

Bryan was a couple months away from turning 21. She and her husband, Bill Nelson, believe Bryan first got his first experience with drugs while in their home.

“I’ve lived with the guilt for almost ten years, because they were my Vicodin that started Bryan down his path,” said Bill. “I have to live with that when it’s just so easy to dispose of them.”

The couple said they’re always helping people dispose of their unused medicines and feel the pouches can make a difference.

“This is such a good idea,” said Kristy.

She added she would like to see pharmacies give the pouches away to their customers.