NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - President Donald Trump has declared war on the opioid epidemic, calling it a national health emergency.
Overdoses of the drugs have claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans in recent years.
The order, under the Public Health Services Act, will direct federal agencies to give more grant money to fight the epidemic.
"We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic," Trump said Thursday.
Drug prevention advocates here in Deep East Texas have the same concerns, warning you could be a drug dealer and not even know. A partial solution is a safe and easy disposal method for prescription drugs.
Drug abuse prevention advocates bag up the first of 3,000 carbon bags. The carbon inside deactivates any prescribed medication. The proper disposal of addictive pain killers is the primary target.
"It is a big concern and it's moved from an opioid epidemic to a crisis," said Kim Bartel, with the Region 5 Preventative Resource Center.
Researchers say 42 percent of opioids prescribed for pain go unused. Dangerous medications around the house lead to accidental poisoning, overdose, and abuse.
"It's a great prevention tool," said Peggy Muckelroy, the Nac-CAN coordinator for the Alcohol & Drug Abuse Council of Deep East Texas.
The coalition, Nac CAN, suggests using the environmentally friendly carbon bag to properly dispose of unneeded medications.
"Take the pills out of the pill bottle and pour them into the bag and then add your warm water to it. Zip it up," Muckelroy said. "Shake it for about 30 seconds and throw it into your trash."
The Altrusa Club is helping distribute the bags to civic clubs, senior citizens, and the general public.
"Our group decided to make this part of our service project for Make A Difference Day because it's also Saturday, which is the same day of National Prescription Take Back Day," said Nikki Roberts, the vice president of Altrusa.
The responsibility falls on the community to control the availability of prescription drugs. They rank second only to marijuana as the most common form of drug abuse in America.
The free carbon bags will be distributed by the Altrusa club At the Nacogdoches Farmers Market on Saturday. Any other time, they can be picked up at the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council's Nacogdoches office at 1407 North University.
For more information about the free carbon bags, you can send an e-mail to Muckelroy.