Northampton County targets opioid epidemic with disposable medication pouches

EASTON, Pa. — Northampton County is working to combat the opioid epidemic by targeting one mailbox at a time.

County residents receive disposable medication pouches in the mail, courtesy of the county government.

“We are aggressively fighting fentanyl,” County Executive Lamont McClure said.

“We did this to save children’s lives and we’re also doing this to make sure Narcan is equally distributed throughout Northampton County.”

“We are doing this to save children’s lives.”

Lamont McClure, Lehigh County Executive

County residents are finding disposable drug pouches on their doorsteps as county officials try to combat drug abuse.

“The Deterra program helps us potentially get about 6.3 million pills out of Northampton County’s medicine cabinets,” he said.

The biodegradable pouches, called the Deterra Medication Disabling System, dissolve unused medications in pill form and illicit drugs, such as opioids and fentanyl.

“It’s very simple,” McClure said. “You open them, you put the medicine in, you fill it with water to the line on the package, you seal the package, you shake the package.

“This will deactivate the medicine in the package and you will then throw it in the trash as it is biodegradable.”

The campaign is fake, it's true

Brittany Sweeney


A photo of the pamphlet Northampton County sends to residents, which has a medication disposal pouch inside.

“We can protect children”

McClure said the packages were sent to about 142,000 homes over two mail cycles – one in November and one in May.

“We know that much of addiction begins at home and in the medicine cabinet.”

Lamont McClure, County Executive, Northampton County

“We know that much of addiction begins at home and in the medicine cabinet,” McClure said.

“So if we could get opioids out of medicine cabinets, we could protect kids from becoming addicted to opioids and potentially turning to street drugs that contain fentanyl and we know that fentanyl poisonings lead to death pretty quickly. “

The mailings are part of the county’s Fake is Real campaign, which also distributes free naloxone, the anti-overdose drug also known as Narcan.

Deterra instruction

Brittany Sweeney


Northampton County is sending disposable medication pouches to residents. This effort is part of the Fake is Real campaign to combat the opioid epidemic.

No taxes were used for the project. The funding came from a deal with major opioid companies after Northampton County was involved in a lawsuit against them.

“We sued the opioid manufacturers because we knew they were hurting the people of Northampton County, and you won’t get away with it,” McClure said.

“So we took them to court and we received settlement dollars, millions and millions of settlement dollars, which we will receive for years and years.

“And we use that money to fight fentanyl, fentanyl poisoning, fentanyl overdose, and ultimately death.”

McClure said he expects another series of Deterra pouches to be available soon.

County residents can obtain additional disposable medication pouches or naloxone through the Fake is Real website or by calling the Northampton County Drug and Alcohol Division within the Department of Human Services.