Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Police in Newport News and Hampton now have this tool to help fight opioid addiction

Tidewaters Bayview Physicians Group is the first healthcare system in Virginia to try out new monitoring technology for opioid prescriptions. (File photo)
(WYDaily File photo)

Patient admissions in emergency rooms due to opioids were the highest in Newport News and Hampton in 2017.

The data from the Virginia Department of Health showed the two cities ranked in the top five out of 20 counties following Franklin City, Chesapeake and Portsmouth.

United Way of the Virginia Peninsula has donated 200 drug disposal kits each to the Newport News Police Department and Hampton Police Division as a means to “stop the cycle.”

“Many addictions begin from family members taking someone else’s unused prescriptions. These drug disposal kits will deactivate all ingredients within medications, making a safer environment for families to stop addictions before they begin,” said Steven Kast, president and CEO of United Way of the Virginia Peninsula, in a recent news release.

The Deterra manufactured pouches come in various sizes and neutralize liquid, patch, and pill medications that can then be disposed of in a regular trash can.

Just put the medication inside the pouch, add warm water, wait 30 seconds, seal the bag before shaking, and throw it away.

“It was important to get these to police departments because United Way is a collaborator, we want to bring people together and connect people where they can help,” said Savannah Patterson, a spokeswoman for United Way of the Virginia Peninsula.

Steven Kast, president and chief executive office for United Way of the Virginia Peninsula, present Hampton Police Division and Newport News Police Department officers with donated Deterra drug deactivation kits on Jan. 17. (WYDaily/Courtesy United Way of the Virginia Peninsula)
Steven Kast, president and chief executive officer for United Way of the Virginia Peninsula, present Hampton Police Division and Newport News Police Department officers with donated Deterra drug deactivation kits on Jan. 17 2020. (WYDaily/Courtesy United Way of the Virginia Peninsula)

The Peninsula Community Opiate Response group sponsored the deactivation kits with a grant from The Amerisource Bergen Foundation as part of their mission to “minimize the opioid crisis in the two cities through education and prevention.”

The group made of up public and private agencies in Hampton and Newport News also used funds from the grant to host public educational and informational lectures, according to the news release.

Once they receive more deactivation kits, Patterson said they’ll be available at PCOR events but as of now have been handed over to the police departments who’ll determine how they’re distributed.

Brandon Maynard, a Newport News Police spokesman, said the kits they’ve received have been dispersed throughout the precincts for officers to carry with them on calls, “but if a citizen called in, there’s no reason we wouldn’t be able to give them a kit.”

Hampton’s supply of disposal pouches went to their Community Engagement and Special Investigations Units, said Amanda Moreland, a police spokeswoman.

“If anyone is interested in receiving one of these, or have a need for several of them, they can come to our headquarters and just request the medication disposal kits,” she said.

Hampton Police Headquarters is at 40 Lincoln St.

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