New tool makes it easier to keep unused medication out of Spartanburg homes, water supply

Thursday, October 24, 2019

In conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Agency's safe disposal guidelines, Spartanburg Water is introducing a new tool to dispose of your unwanted, unused, or expired medication.

It’s called the Deterra Drug Deactivation System. These pouches are an alternative to flushing medication down toilets or sinks – a practice that can contaminate our water supply. Wastewater treatment plants are not designed or equipped to remove pharmaceuticals, which means these drugs can make their way into our reservoirs and present challenges in our efforts to keep drinking water clean, safe, and healthy.

The solution is simple. Just add unused medications and warm water to the Deterra pouch. A chemical inside the pouch dissolves the pills and draws the drugs out, making them safe to throw in the trash and reducing the risk to our watershed.

Not only does this tool protect the environment, it also protects public safety. Studies show that every day, 2,500 American kids abuse a prescription drug for the first time, and 130 Americans die each day from an opioid overdose.

More than 60 percent of people with leftover prescription opioids reported keeping prescribed pills for future use rather than disposing of them, with one in five people admitting to sharing their medication with another person.

Picking up a Deterra pouch can help eliminate these dangers by clearing your cabinets of unused medications in just minutes.

Spartanburg Water is partnering with the Forrester Center for Behavioral Health to supply these at-home drug deactivation systems to households around Spartanburg.

Customers can pick up two free Deterra pouches each as long as supplies last at the Spartanburg Water Administration Office at 200 Commerce Street. Please stop by the reception desk and request the pouches. 

Although the DEA's National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is recognized twice a year, the pouches are an ongoing effort by Spartanburg Water to keep our water system clean. Taking this simple step will not only help protect your personal household, but also the reservoirs that supply drinking water to nearly 200,000 people throughout our community.

For more information on the Deterra Drug Deactivation System, please visit