by Admiral James “Sandy” Winnefeld, SAFE Project Co-Founder
Published October 1, 2021
Imagine if you had the power to destroy millions of unused and expired prescription drugs, keeping them out of the wrong hands, avoiding intentional and unintentional misuse, and protecting the environment at the same time.
That’s not a dream beyond reach.
In 2020, SAFE Project and the creators of the Deterra® Drug Deactivation and Disposal System partnered to distribute free at-home disposal pouches to homes across the country, ensuring access to safe, permanent and environmentally-sound drug disposal for thousands of Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of the combined efforts of the three Gone for Good® at-home medication disposal campaigns, more than 45,000 Deterra Pouches have been distributed – enough to destroy nearly 4 million pills.
This October, we’re teaming up again alongside our co-sponsor, Athletico Physical Therapy, for our next campaign. Proper drug disposal is more important than ever – we lost 93,000 Americans to drug overdoses in 2020, 30% more than those that perished in 2019. Providing individuals with a discreet, at-home drug deactivation option helps break down barriers that can prevent people from disposing of drugs properly, including lack of easy access to disposal sites and the stigma surrounding substance use disorder.
Partners in Prevention
Mary and I co-founded SAFE Project after the tragic death of our 19-year-old son Jonathan from an accidental opioid overdose. Jonathan’s struggle with addiction started with prescription drugs.
Our own medicine cabinets are the number one source of pills for teenagers. We can and must take action to educate the public about the risks of unfettered access to unused medication and provide a safe solution for their disposal.
We are committed to ending the opioid epidemic in this country by focusing our work on SAFE Campuses, SAFE Communities, SAFE Workplaces, and SAFE Veterans. Safe disposal is woven throughout all aspects of our mission because prevention is critical to ending this crisis. Increasing access to permanent, effective at-home drug deactivation and disposal helps prevent potentially dangerous medications from being misused, ending up in the wrong hands or leading to a tragic overdose.
Do Your Part to Help Destroy 1.8 Million Medications
This is so important because four out of five people who become dependent on opioids received them from a friend or relative. Eighty percent of people who develop a heroin use disorder start with prescription pills. That is why it’s so important that you help us prevent the misuse of prescription drugs and reach our goal this year of destroying nearly two million unused medications.
- Request a FREE Deterra Pouch. From October 1 – 31, 2021: visit DeterraSystem.com/SAFE 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.
- 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.
Safe medication disposal is the responsibility of every household, and it is a non-negotiable to have at-home solutions available, especially in light of the current pandemic. We all have the power to make every day drug take back day.
Admiral James “Sandy” Winnefeld served as the ninth Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the United States’ second highest ranking military officer. Among the many commendations earned during his military career, Winnefeld has been awarded the Distinguished Defense Service medal, the highest non-combat award given in the US military. In 2017, Winnefeld co-founded the national nonprofit SAFE Project with his wife Mary after losing their son Jonathan to an accidental drug overdose.