Deterra Drug Deactivation System

2016 - 2018

1 Deterra® Drug Deactivation System, medium size, made by Verde Incorporated, in Minneapolis, United States, 2016-2018

Developed in collaboration with the National Institute on Drug Abuse in the United States, the Deterra ® Drug Deactivation System is one way of ensuring that left-over or expired medications can be safely disposed. Each pouch contains a water-soluble pod of carbon. When tablets, patches or liquid based medicines and water are added, the carbon binds to the medicines, making them unusable. Once the process is complete, the pouch and its contents can be disposed of as household waste. The plastic elements are broken down by microbes present in landfill and the medicines remain bound to the carbon.

The system aims to remove addictive substances from circulation, avoid accidental usage and to prevent their disposal the water supply. Water contamination not only has the potential to damage our own health, but it can also impact the health of our aquatic systems, the animals who live within them, and our environment more generally. This object was collected by a former Science Museum member of staff while attending the annual convention of the Alaska Federation of Natives in 2017, where the growing problem of opioid misuse was widely discussed. Alongside the conference proceedings, a market is held where Alaska Native artists and craftspeople sell their products.


Public Health & Hygiene
Object Number:
Carbon compound and plastic (unidentified)
drug deactivation system