By Mayor Trent Staggs
It’s not often you see city governments take the lead in addressing a state or national issue, but that’s exactly what we’ve done here in Riverton as we work to combat the state and national opioid epidemic. I was pleased to participate in a press conference on September 12 as we rolled out a local initiative that has the support of Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) District Agent in Charge Brian Besser, and Intermountain Riverton Hospital.
Our initiative centers around onsite destruction of unused or expired prescription medication through a product called NarcX. The product is a liquid solution that immediately renders opioids and other drugs in a “non-retrievable” state and is the only product that meets the requirements of DEA policy and the Code of Federal Regulations for onsite destruction. NarcX eliminates the need to incinerate medications since drug compounds are neutralized onsite; making medications indiscernible and indigestible once placed in the solution.
Onsite destruction is preferable to drug take back programs or traditional medication drop boxes, as it eliminates the stockpiling of drugs and any potential illegal diversion or redistribution of the drugs. It also saves the time of local law enforcement in trying to properly dispose of these medications, as the product is non-toxic, and can simply be thrown away like household trash when the solution is full.
Riverton residents are encouraged to dispose of unused or expired medications at NarcX kiosks that the city has provided. Current kiosk locations include: Riverton City Hall and Riverton Police Department.
Additionally, Intermountain Riverton Hospital has purchased individual-sized NarcX bottles that they are distributing for free at Southridge Pharmacy at the hospital. We encourage you to visit the pharmacy to pick up a bottle of your own so you have it in your home when you need it. We are also working on equipping our police department with these small bottles, so don’t hesitate to reach out to any RPD officer if you have medication you’d like to dispose of.
Opioid abuse is a serious problem here in Utah. Opioids have resulted in over 67,000 national drug related deaths, and close to 650 deaths of our own Utahns in 2018. Between the years of 2015 and 2017 there were over 800 drug overdose deaths in Salt Lake County alone. Deaths from opioids has now surpassed deaths caused by motor vehicles and firearms. This is an unacceptable statistic and underscores the need for local solutions to combat the epidemic.
It’s important to remember that our efforts here are not aimed at those who are taking medication for the use it was prescribed. Our goal with this project is to encourage everyone to properly dispose of expired or unused medications when they are no longer being used for the specific purpose they were prescribed for.Here in Riverton, we are committed to helping our state and national leaders combat this opioid crisis. I am hopeful that our efforts will initiate a trend amongst other local municipalities to take strides to not just talk about the opioid crisis, but to take action. We can all do something, and we must all do something to be part of the solution.
Medication Disposal Kiosk Locations
Riverton City Hall - 12830 S Redwood Road, Riverton, Utah 84065
Riverton Police Department - 12810 S Redwood Road, Riverton, Utah 84096