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Beshear: Kentucky Opioid Disposal Program Fighting Addiction in Western Kentucky

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OWENSBORO, Ky. (LEX 18)– Attorney General Andy Beshear was at the Munday Activity Center in Owensboro Monday to announce that more resources are being provided to help fight the drug epidemic in Western Kentucky.

As part of Beshear’s Kentucky Opioid Disposal Program, the attorney general says he is providing 800 drug deactivation packages to the Green River Area Development District.

The district’s aging and social services department will dispense the packages to help senior citizens in Daviess, Hancock, Henderson, McLean, Ohio, Union and Webster counties dispose of 36,000 unused prescription opioids in a safe and eco-friendly manner.

Beshear said the Kentucky Opioid Disposal Program is a pilot program that aims to reduce the nearly 80 percent of heroin users who begin their addiction with prescription drugs.

“We are committed to bringing together community partners and citizens to fight the state’s opioid epidemic,” Beshear said. “We are proud to continue working with the Green River Area Development District to help senior citizens in the region keep unused opioids out of the hands of those who could abuse them.”

“We are excited for Attorney General Beshear to take a leadership role in this important and timely challenge,” said Jiten Shah, executive director at Green River Area Development District. “We have seen this as one of the growing concerns for seniors in our seven counties. The Kentucky Opioid Disposal Program will be the most effective way to dispose of excessive and expired drugs from being abused. GRADD is honored to partner with Attorney General Beshear, and will be glad to implement this in our communities.”

In August 2017, Beshear launched the Kentucky Opioid Disposal Program, the state’s first initiative to allow Kentuckians to safely dispose of opioid medications at home.

In the region, Beshear along with Henderson County Sheriff Ed Brady and six community partners launched the program last year and are distributing 10,000 of the drug deactivation pouches. The effort will remove more than 450,000 prescription pills from the county.

The Kentucky Opioid Disposal Program pilot program also includes Floyd, McCracken and Perry counties. Beshear’s Office of Senior Protection is working with the faith-based community to distribute the pouches at senior events.

In total, the program has the potential to dispose of more than 2.2 million unused opioids by simply placing unused medication into the pouch, filling it with warm water, waiting 30 seconds then seal, shake and dispose of it in normal trash.

Since taking office, Beshear’s core mission has been to find workable solutions to combat addiction in Kentucky.

Beshear has also taken action by suing opioid distributors and manufactures including Cardinal Health, McKesson Corporation and Endo Pharmaceuticals for violating state law and fueling the state’s opioid epidemic.

Beshear is also working with local law enforcement and community leaders to host substance abuse awareness forums across the state. The office has also been instrumental in numerous drug related arrests, including working with federal authorities to arrest a fentanyl dealer whose drugs had killed several Kentuckians.

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