Governor’s Prevention Partnership and Legislators Spotlight Importance of Drug Takeback and Deactivation Programs

National Drug Takeback Day on Saturday, April 27


HARTFORD, CONN. – [April 22, 2024] – A coalition of legislators and advocates came together at the Legislative Office Building today to call for action to fight drug misuse and abuse and spotlight the availability of drug disposal methods accessible throughout the state. [LINK TO CT-N ON-DEMAND VIDEO OF PRESS CONFERENCE.]

Kelly Juleson, co-president of The Governor’s Prevention Partnership, kicked off the event, joined by state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Commissioner Nancy Navarretta, state Senators Saud Anwar, D-South Windsor, Tony Hwang, R-Fairfield, state Rep. Cristin McCarthy Vahey and David Lanzoni, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England. Bringing home the impact of drug deactivation and safe disposal in the home was Ms. Neha Shanavas, a senior student at Hartford’s Sport and Medical Sciences Academy and member of the Governor’s Prevention Partnership Youth Advisory Board.

Drawing attention to national Drug Take Back Day on this Saturday, April 27, participants at the press conference touted the effectiveness of Governor’s Prevention Partnership’s “Prevention Starts With You” project, funded partly through a $1.2 million Congressionally Directed Spending grant secured in October 2023 with the assistance of U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. The program provides for the combining at-home drug deactivation pouches with conversation starters for youth, raising awareness in preventing youth substance misuse and bringing 50,000 deactivation pouches to homes in Greater Hartford and Greater New Haven. These pouches can be used to neutralize excess or unwanted drugs’ effectiveness. To date, more than 21,000 drug deactivation pouches have been distributed statewide.

“Keeping unwanted, unused or expired prescription medicines in the home is dangerous, especially if they end up in the wrong hands. Our young people might accidentally or intentionally misuse them, which can serve as a gateway to even more dangerous drugs such as fentanyl,” said Kelly Juleson, co-president at the Governor’s Prevention Partnership.

“Tossing meds in the trash alone won’t do it. This is why we began distributing Deterra’s drug deactivation and disposal pouches under our ‘Prevention Starts With You’ campaign. Put simply, these pouches, which collect, deactivate and contain discarded prescription drugs so they can safely be thrown away, are simple to use and can save lives.”

“During my sophomore year of high school, a fellow peer passed away from fentanyl overdose. He was 13 years old at the time. It never occurred to me that someone who walked the same hallway as me and ate lunch in the same cafeteria as me could just leave this world so suddenly,” said Neha Shanavas, a senior student at Hartford’s Sport and Medical Sciences Academy and member of the Governor’s Prevention Partnership Youth Advisory Board. “With the harm that adolescent substance usage can have one’s physical and emotional well-being, let alone academic achievement, Connecticut needs comprehensive prevention programs that can teach children about the dangers of substance abuse, encourage good decision-making and provide simple and powerful tools like these drug deactivation pouches in the home.”

“The men and women of the Drug Enforcement Administration are focused day in and day out on combating the deadly drug poisoning epidemic and saving lives,” said David Lanzoni, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the New England Field Division. “National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is one of the ways we can help prevent medication misuse that may start in the home. Working in partnership with local law enforcement, Drug Take Back Day has removed nearly nine-thousand tons of medication from circulation since its inception.”

The lawmakers in attendance called for passage of Senate Bill 1, the Senate Democrats’ foremost priority bill this legislative session, which would increase access to information on the drug deactivation pouches via pharmacies that distribute prescription opioids to patients.

“Senate Bill 1 includes provisions that would increase public access to Deterra pouches, which would make disposal of excess and unwanted prescription drugs easier than ever for members of the public,” said state Sen. Saud Anwar, D-South Windsor. “Helping households and families get rid of unnecessary drugs is a huge way to cut into the opioid crisis, preventing opportunities for addiction before they can start. I’m looking forward to leading SB1’s passage on the Senate floor and am confident it will help our state upon becoming law.”

“We have lost too many young people in this state to the tragedy of drug overdoses, and it must stop now. Some families may not be aware of the dangerous circumstances that are created when leftover prescription drugs are forgotten about in a medicine cabinet,” state Sen. Tony Hwang, R-Fairfield, remarked. By promoting awareness and offering drug deactivation kits to families statewide, we are making our homes safer, and addressing these preventable tragedies head on, before they happen.


Media contact:

Kelly Juleson, Governor’s Prevention Partnership

(860) 841-0604


The Governor’s Prevention Partnership builds statewide capacity to prevent underage drinking and substance use and builds strategic alliances to promote the overall well-being of Connecticut’s future workforce.