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Blog Post | September 30, 2020

Curbing the Crisis with Safe At-Home Medication Disposal

By Admiral James Winnefeld, SAFE Project Co-Founder


Nearly one in three Americans know someone addicted to opioids. After losing our son, Jonathan, to an accidental opioid overdose, my wife Mary and I founded SAFE Project with the mission to help overcome the addiction epidemic in the United States by raising awareness and providing outreach, prevention and recovery resources for individuals, families and communities affected by substance use disorder.

While the crisis is not new, our current situation presents new challenges that require creative solutions. 40 US states have reported increases in opioid overdoses and mortality in 2020. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the stressors of unemployment, isolation and decreased access to prevention and treatment resources will likely continue to increase the risk of substance misuse in communities nationwide. 

“The numbers say it all. Data shows that 128 people die each day from the opioid crisis – and now drug deaths are 13 percent higher than in the first half of 2019, on average. As we continue to see rising opioid overdose deaths, we need to work together to come up with creative and realistic solutions to prevent drug abuse – at a distance”. 

Prevention Starts at Home 

Addiction to opioids and prescription drugs often starts in the home medicine cabinet, so it’s crucial that prevention efforts begin at home with proper disposal of unused medications. 

This spring, as access to other disposal resources like prescription drug take back events and drop boxes was limited by COVID-19, SAFE Project partnered with the creators of the Deterra® Drug Deactivation System for the first Gone for Good at-home medication disposal campaign. We distributed over 10,000 drug disposal pouches capable of destroying nearly a million prescription pills, nearly double our initial goal. 

This October, for National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, we’re launching the second Gone for Good campaign with the goal of reaching more than 11,000 households and deactivating over 1 million pills. 

Join the Campaign to Destroy Over 1 Million Pills!

You can help us prevent drug abuse and reach our goal of destroying over 1 million unused medications. 

  • Request a FREE Deterra Pouch. From October 1-31, visit to request your free Large Deterra Pouch be mailed directly to your home. Each Deterra Pouch can deactivate up to 90 pills, 12 ounces of liquid or up to 12 patches. Deterra free drug disposal pouch
  • Tell Your Friends. Encourage your relatives, peers and community members to request their free Deterra Pouch to properly dispose of leftover medications at home. 
  • Share the News. Help us spread the word on social media, via email or in your newsletter. To get started, download these free campaign resources and start sharing the news with the hashtag #GoneForGoodUS.