MINNETONKA - It's a product that labels itself a "universal solution to an urgent problem." And that urgent problem is America's opioid crisis.
Manufactured by Minnetonka-based Verde Technologies, Deterra is a pouch that can deactivate drugs in a simple and environmentally responsible way.
Deterra "makes it safe for the pharmaceuticals to go into the landfill so that it won't leak out and get into our water," said Rob Reynolds, director of advocacy for Verde Technologies.
One Deterra bag can neutralize 45 pills or 6 oz. liquids or 6 patches.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdoses are the leading cause of death for Americans under 50, and opioid-related overdoses are rising faster than ever.
Many teens begin abusing painkillers by rummaging through their family's medicine cabinets, according to Reynolds, who used to serve as the Eden Prairie Police Chief.
"We have to clean up what's in our cupboards right now and Deterra can play an important role in that," added Reynolds. "What we want to do is change the paradigm of how we dispense these [Deterra bags]."
The state of Pennsylvania seems to be leading the way when it comes to distributing Deterra bags to areas hardest hit by the opioid crisis.
The state's attorney general, Josh Shapiro, unveiled a major initiative over the summer to supply 300,000 Deterra bags to in 12 counties grappling with the opioid crisis.
Under the state's program, anyone who receives a schedule II narcotic, like Percocet, oxycodone, and fentanyl, from a participating pharmacy will be offered a free disposal pouch.
Reynolds believes Minnesota could use a similar initiative.
"It’s a very exciting time," said Reynolds.
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