As Broome County continues to fight against its higher than average opioid overdose rate, some health care providers will now give patients opioid disposal bags for unused medications.

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According to a report by Vince Briga of Spectrum News 1, short-term opioid prescriptions from Lourdes Hospital and UHS Binghamton General Hospital will give patients Deterra bags to dispose of unused opioid prescriptions without having to go to a drop-box location. The goal is to make it easier for families to dispose of unused opioids, which can pose a risk to both the person prescribed the medication and anyone else who could access them.

Megan Olmstead, Broome County mental health personal centered community advocate, told Briga "Seventy percent of post-surgical prescribed opioids can go unused. That leaves thousands, possible more, harmful pills and unused within our homes."

In a previous article on WNBF, it was noted that Broome County has an especially high rate of opioid-related deaths. Compared to the 2019 state-wide average of 15.1 opioid deaths per 100,000 residents, Broome County had a rate of 35.8 opioid-related deaths per 100,000 residents in 2020. In an effort to curb that disturbing statistic, organizations like Truth Pharm have provided Narcan training and given out free Narcan kits, which have shown to be extremely effective in preventing overdose deaths. A 2017 article written by Nadia Kounang of CNN found that 93.5% of overdose victims survived when administered Naloxone.

While Narcan training does little to prevent opioid use from occurring, these opioid disposal bags provided by Lourdes and UHS aim to cut the use of opioids at the source by making it easier for people prescribed opioid medication to dispose of any excess they no longer need, instead of leaving them in their home.

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