GASTON COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Four local towns are entering the fight against opioids with a unique product that's supposed to help you get rid of your prescription drugs in a safe way.
Belmont, Shelby, Rutherfordton and Stanley all applied for and received a grant to inherit these products from The AmerisourceBergen Foundation, an organization whose goal is to create safer communities.
The announcement comes just two months after Gaston county leaders held a press conference stating they would be suing pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors for failing to properly label just how dangerous opioids can be.
In 2016, more than 50 people died from an opioid overdose, according to the county.
The product is a drug deactivation pouch tool that's supposed to breakdown prescription drugs in the comfort of your home in an eco-friendly way. The pouch comes with activated carbon inside, all you have to do is pour in the prescription pills with warm water, shake the bag and the steps are complete. The carbon makes the drugs non-retrievable forcing you to throw the remnants in the trash.
This replaces the notion of having to physically go to a designated drug drop-off location. Stanley Police Chief Derek Summey said he applied for the grant hoping to make tossing out prescription drugs a little bit easier and help stop the opioid epidemic.
The drug deactivation pouch will be available at the Stanley police station and fire department.
The city of Stanley was given 1,000 pouches through the grant, which are free to the public and are located inside the Stanley police and fire stations, plus local churches, schools and drug stores throughout the area.
U.S. Congressman Patrick McHenry paid a visit to Stanley for the press conference, he stated that the opioid problem is something that reaches way outside a police officer's control.
"This is not something that is a law enforcement issue, this is a medical issue of addiction," the congressman said.
The deactivation pouch runs for about 3 dollars online. Law enforcement officials say cat litter can also work using the same method.