This is a safe and convenient way to get unused or expired prescription drugs out of your home.

With the nation still in the grip an opioid drug use and overdose epidemic, the Oneida County Opioid Task Force will mail drug disposal bags to your home, and are hosting a drive-thru event this Saturday, October 29 - which is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

Here in Oneida County, the Opioid Task Force’s Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program (ODMAP) has tracked 10 overdoses involving minors aged 18 and younger in 2020. In 2021, there was a 150% increase, resulting in 26 intentional and unintentional overdoses - most of which involved prescription drugs, county health officials said.

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente says it's part of a multi-pronged approach to fight addiction. This approach is aimed a possibly preventing someone pills getting into the wrong hands and developing an addiction, he said:

“We continue to do the important work of helping people actively struggling with addiction, however, we also want to implement strategies focused on addiction prevention to reduce the likelihood of a person ever developing the disease. Since half of the people who misuse prescription drugs get them from a family member or friend, we want to make these medication disposal bags available to the public so that it is as easy as possible to safely eliminate that risk from homes.”

A drive-thru 'take back' collection event is happening on Saturday from 10.00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Union Station in Utica, held in collaboration with several other agencies including Utica Police and The Center for Family Life and Recovery. You can drop old or unwanted prescription or over the counter medications for humans or pets. Needles and sharps will also be collected, but must be in a sealed plastic container.

Health officials warn that expired, unused or unwanted drugs, especially opioids like hydrocodone, morphine and oxycodone create the risk of accidental death when taken accidentally by children or pets.

County residents can have Deterra® Drug Deactivation Bags mailed directly to their home, or can pick them up at a drive-thru distribution event happening on Saturday.


Canva[/caption]The Deterra bags provide permanent disposal prescription meds, using organic-activated carbon to deactivate the drugs. Instructions tell you how much water to add to the bag, and they can then be tossed in the trash, officials explained.

If you'd like the deactivation bags mailed to you home, just fill out the request form on the county's Opioid Task Force website at

Two bags will be allowed per household while supplies last. Officials say they'll be distributing more of these deactivation bags in the coming months.

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