Drug Disposal Bags Aim to Curb Opioid Addiction in Northampton County

Deterra Bags

As the opioid epidemic rages on, Northampton County is hoping a little bag can make a difference.

Kathy Jiorle, Administrator of the Northampton Drug and Alcohol Division, told 69 News, “We’re really getting the community involved in the knowledge and the education surrounding overdose deaths, and how it can really happen to anybody.”

To get the word out, Northampton County is thinking outside the box, or in this case bags. Deterra, a drug deactivation and disposal company, has mailed out bags to a portion of homes in the county as a safe and fast way to get rid of medication and keep them out of the wrong hands.

“54% of overdose deaths occur in someone’s home, and they can start with kids taking prescriptions that are not theirs, or adults taking prescriptions that are not theirs,” said Jiorle. “It doesn’t have to necessarily be drug disposable for illicit medications.”

If you get a bag, the process to dispose medication is simple. Unseal the bag, fill it halfway with water, add the pills, shake it, and throw it out.

“It’s all environmentally safe and friendly, so it is safe to throw this in the trash,” said Jiorle.


The distribution is part of a larger campaign, “Fake is Real.” It is a county-wide initiative aimed at curbing the staggering opioid addiction deaths.

The “Fake is Real” site reports 1,309 accidental overdose deaths in Lehigh and Northampton counties. Overall, according to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, 6.22% of nationwide overdose deaths occur in Pennsylvania.

“We all need to be vigilant and be aware of the most responsible things we can do to curtail the drug use in our communities,” said Jiorle.

The drug deactivation bags are being mailed out in three waves depending on zip codes, but you can request a bag on the “Fake is Real” site at any time.

The county says the entire campaign, including the bag distribution, is being funded from the proceeds that the county secured from litigation against opioid manufacturers.

In Search of More Information?

You can visit our resource center to learn more about the fentanyl epidemic and have quick and easy access to a variety of sources that can solve what you're looking for.