Riverton presents local solution to the state and national opioid epidemic
Sep 23, 2019 01:53PM
● By Stephanie Yrungaray
Mayor Trent Staggs speaks at a press conference about the opioid crisis. (City Journals File Photo)
By Stephanie Yrungaray | [email protected]
Riverton is leading the charge against opioid abuse by providing kiosks for the safe disposal of unused and unneeded medications.
At a press conference on Sept. 12, Mayor Trent Staggs announced that kiosks would be available around the city to encourage residents to dispose of their unused and unwanted medications in a safe and effective way.
“As soon as you put your unwanted pill, tablet, capsule or liquid into the NarcX container it is ultimately non-retrievable,” said David Schiller, former DEA agent and president and co-founder of NarcX . “Our chemical engineer could not go in and take those pills back out. If someone tried to drink it, they would immediately throw up. There is zero abuse potential in it.”
NarcX is a liquid solution that immediately renders the medication dropped into it non-useable. Riverton officials have purchased six kiosks of NarcX solution that will be placed at Riverton City Hall, Riverton Police Department, the Public Works Department and the city’s fire stations.
It is estimated that around 50 Utahns die from opioid addiction each month. Seventy-four percent of Utahns currently addicted to opioids got them from friends or family members.
“The unfortunate truth is that while we are talking at this press conference, someone is going to overdose,” said Schiller. “That's something we can eliminate because the second that pill is no longer needed by the person who its prescribed for that pill can immediately be non-useable and non-divertable. It can’t be abused; you can’t get addicted and you can’t die.”
Riverton Intermountain Hospital officials also announced their efforts to partner with Riverton to fight opioid abuse. They purchased 1,000 individual bottles of NarcX solution that residents can get for free at the Southridge Pharmacy inside of the Riverton Intermountain Hospital.
“We wish to be part of the solution,” said Todd Neubert, Intermountain Riverton Hospital administrator. “We are partnering with the city to distribute bottles of NarcX to individuals in the community. Those people wishing to clean out their medicine cabinets and eliminate the threat and potentially devastating effects that unused narcotics pose to their loved ones.”
DEA District Agent in Charge and Co-chair of the Utah Opioid Task Force Brian Besser praised Staggs and other Riverton leaders for thinking outside of the box.
“I was taken back to receive a phone call from a city that wants to be progressive and actually be part of the solution,” Besser said. “I was elated to be part of this because it was such a proactive stance on such a grave issue.”
Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes said Riverton’s action to provide kiosks puts the city right at the top of the list of those making a difference.
“People every day ask me what can I do? What can I do to make a difference?” Reyes said. “You may not be able to arrest someone, you may not be able to change prescription policies, but every single one of us can make a difference starting today, right now by going home and getting rid of some of that unused, un-needed expired medication in an environmentally safe and public health safe manner. I encourage you to please do that.”
Staggs said Riverton leaders are committed to combat the opioid crisis locally and hopes other cities will join in the fight.
“It really is the time for action,” Staggs said. “It requires everybody's effort.”