ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) and the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) are teaming up to distribute 100,000 Deterra Drug Deactivation and Disposal pouches to older adults.

With future rounds of deliveries scheduled in the future, 69,000 pouches are currently being shipped across the state. Deterra is a drug deactivation system made to erase unwanted or expired prescription drugs, pills, patches, liquids, creams and films. Deterra renders them inactive, unavailable for misuse and safe for the ecosystem.

“The average older adult on our caseload has four or more chronic conditions,” said NYSOFA Director Greg Olsen. “These conditions can require upwards of a dozen prescription medications, with overlapping refill and expiration timelines and dosage changes as determined by medical professionals, increasing the risk of adverse drug events or interactions. This complexity demands simple solutions.”

Using the Deterra pouches is a three-step process. The drugs go in the container, water is added and then it is thrown away.

“This innovative initiative is a great way to promote safe disposal of prescription medications and to help prevent misuse of these medications,” said OASAS Commissioner Chinazo Cunningham. “Through collaboration with the NYSOFA, we are able to reach a population that tends to have many prescription medications and is at risk of adverse effects.”

Unfriendly drug events cause approximately 1.3 million emergency department visits and 350,000 hospitalizations for extra treatment each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Generally, the number of drug prescriptions increases with age. On average, people aged 50 to 64 have 13 prescriptions and ages 80 and older average 22.