NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A new program looks to deter substance misuse among youth in Connecticut.

Gov. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.) launched the “Prevention Starts With You,” a $1.2 million campaign offering resources and creating awareness.

“You have the power to help young people who are in your life avoid using drugs and alcohol,” said Roland Harmon, the co-president of the Governor’s Prevention Partnership.

Organizers said it was created in response to the opioid death of a Hartford Middle School in 2022. They’re also calling it a reminder of the daily activities that everyone can do to make a difference in the lives of young people.

“This project will provide 50,000 Deterra drug deactivation pouches that will deactivate more than 2 million unwanted drugs in Greater Hartford and Greater New Haven,” said Kelly Juleson, co-president of the Governor’s Prevention Partnership.

Health experts said home medicine cabinets are a dangerous place for expired medications. They’re often flushed down the toilet or tossed into the trash, which is bad for the environment.

“Medicine cabinets are ticking time bombs…dispose of them,” U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said.

The campaign will distribute 50,000 Deterra drug deactivation pouches and conversation starters for adults to talk with youth about the dangers of substance use across Connecticut. 

State officials said this is the largest-ever distribution of drug deactivation pouches in Connecticut history.