MARTINSVILLE (WSLS 10) - Some of the 80,000 drug disposal kits that the state Attorney General's Office obtained through a partnership with Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals are now being distributed across the state, including to the Martinsville Police Department.
"We do not know how many we're going to be getting yet," said Martinsville Police Department Capt. Robert Fincher.
The kits are expected to arrive soon.
The department is getting them because of how closely it works with local health departments and community service organizations to combat prescription drug abuse.
It is one of only three local law enforcement agencies to receive the kits.
"We're receiving them, but it's for all those services [that we work with]," Fincher explained. "That way, we can assist them in making certain they're distributed as needed."
The kits are designed to make destroying prescription drugs safer and more convenient for people and, as a result, hopefully reduce the amount of prescription drug abuse which often times leads to the use of other drugs.
"If you take medication and simply flush it down the toilet let's say, or throw it in a trash can, those are still harmful. It can have a harmful effect on water treatment plants and on the public in general," Fincher said.
The kits breakdown the chemicals in the prescriptions.
They are a relatively new technology and Virginia is leading the way in distributing them on a mass scale.
"This year alone, we'll probably have about 600 overdose deaths from prescription drugs alone," Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring pointed out.
On top of that, according to the police department, opiate overdoses in the commonwealth are up 44 percent and heroin related deaths are up more than 600 percent.
Other states are seeing similar increases, which is why Herring is proud of the state's effort to distribute the drug disposal kits.
."If it's successful here, maybe other states will look to us as a model to follow," he said.
Anyone wanting a kit will be able to stop by the police department and ask for one and an officer will demonstrate how to use it.
Roanoke and Franklin County Sheriff's Offices are the other two local law enforcement agencies receiving some of the kits.
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