Minnetonka product aims to stop opioid addiction before it happens

Most people dispose of their unused prescription drugs in medicine disposal boxes at police departments.

But a local product that allows you do get rid of them safely at home is becoming more popular.

Deterra uses a carbon based chemical and water to turn pills, patches and liquids into a harmless solution so the drugs can be thrown in the trash instead of abused or flushed down the drain where they could hurt the environment.

"Abuse really starts with accessibility. Having unwanted, leftover, unused and unwanted pharmaceuticals especially opioids that are there and accessible to potential abusers," Verde Technologies President and CEO Jason Sundby said.

The Minnetonka based company has sold millions of Deterra pouches over the last couple of years and sales are up 800% over last year alone.

"Education programs are good. Websites are good. Pamphlets are good but this is a tangible way to deactivate those drugs and get them out of your home," Sundby said.

Lori Lewis of Oakdale lost her son Ryan to a heroin overdose in 2014.

But the fact that his addiction started by abusing her old prescription pills still haunts her to this day.

"I had had recent back surgery and left them in my medicine cabinet because we didn't think we'd have a problem.

Lewis says Deterra could have helped stop her son from developing an opioid addiction and could still help any parent who wants stop prescription drug abuse before it starts.

"Its everyone's responsibility to make sure those are for the person they were prescribed for and don't get into the hands of others," Lewis said.

Sundby says the bags are either sold or given out at some pharmacies, hospitals and even police stations.

The company hopes they'll eventually become standard issue with any opioid prescription.