Free lock boxes, ‘drug-deactivation bags’ at Loudoun Co. Giant pharmacies to combat opioid abuse

Giant Pharmacy locations in Loudoun County, Virginia, are now handing out free medication lock boxes and “drug-deactivation” bags to combat opioid abuse in the county.

The initiative, announced Monday, is a partnership between the pharmacy and Loudoun County’s Department of Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Developmental Services.

Medication lock boxes are used to safely store drugs and keep them out of reach of children, pets or anyone else who shouldn’t have them. Drug-deactivation bags can be used to dispose of medications in an environmentally friendly way, often by using carbon to neutralize drugs’ active ingredients.

Studies have shown that prescription opioids often go unused, and many people who abuse opioids get them from a friend or relative. For example, between 73% and 77% of patients, in two studies, reported that their prescription opioids were not stored in locked containers.

Pharmacies at eight Giant locations in Loudoun County will offer the lock boxes and drug-deactivation bags. In addition, the pharmacies will pass out flyers.

“Giant Pharmacy is proud to partner with Loudoun County on this very important initiative,” said Samir Balile, Giant Food’s clinical pharmacy program manager, in a news release. “Programs like this demonstrate to the community that Giant Pharmacy, as well as their local government, really care about them.”

Virginia’s State Opioid Response Grant provided the funding for the county’s initiative.

You can find your nearest Giant Pharmacy online.

You can also contact Loudoun County to receive the free lock box and drug-deactivation bag by emailing prevention@loudoun.gov.

In 2018, Virginia reported 1,059 deaths from opioid overdoses and more than 7,300 emergency room visits, according to data from the Virginia Department of Health.

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