Rep. Deanne Mazzochi
State Rep. Deanne Mazzochi (R-Elmhurst) is now one of four Republican DuPage County state representatives to partner with DuPage Sheriff James Mendrick to combat the damage caused by opioids through the distribution of a new, easy-to-use drug disposal system that deactivates the harmful ingredients in opioid pills or patches.
“I thank Sheriff Mendrick for identifying a simple and safe way to dispose of harmful opioids for district residents,” Mazzochi said in a press release. “I am happy to support a program that reduces the risk of medication as an addiction vector.”
Over a three-year period ending in 2018, reported opioid-related deaths in DuPage County soared by nearly 50 percent to 98.
Joining Mazzochi and Mendrick in trying to reverse the trend are House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) and state Reps. Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville) and Amy Grant (R-Wheaton).
Mendrick said the system works when individuals with leftover opioids put them in the bag, add water and shake, prompting a deactivation system to break down the drugs where they can safely be disposed of in the trash. The disposal bags were made available to the sheriff’s office free of charge through a grant obtained by the Illinois Sheriffs Association.
According to the press release, up to 45 pills or six fentanyl patches can be destroyed with the pouches.
The free opioid deactivation bags are available at the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office, at the legislators’ community outreach events, and at all four of the representatives’ district offices.
Mazzochi, who isn’t up for reelection until 2021, currently sits on the Environment; Judiciary - Civil; Health & Healthcare Disparities and Mental Health committees in Springfield.
“The majority of those who abuse opioids are finding the drugs in medicine cabinets,” said Durkin in the press release. “These leftover pain pills represent the starting point of an opioid addition. Providing a free and safe way for people to dispose of their unused medications will go far in preventing opioid addictions and overdoses.”