NEW YORK, March 5, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- An estimated 3 in 4 people who misuse heroin and opioids start with prescription medication, much of which is stolen from close family members. Those pills collecting dust in your medicine cabinet are a hazard to your loved ones, and for most US towns, there are few, if any, places to get rid of them.
Leftover prescription medications are especially dangerous over the holidays; according to the CDC December is the worst month for substance-induced deaths. The Virginia-based Urgent Love Initiative, part of the Prevention Council, and Grey New York have collaborated again to do something about it.
In one day, 3,000 medication disposal kits were sent to family households in one Kentucky town disguised as charming holiday cards.
The town, Frankfort, KY, has a high concentration of families and high rate of prescriptions -making it an ideal location for the project.
Each kit included a holiday card featuring the story of a fictional family who was impacted by prescription drug misuse, a DEA-compliant drug disposal pouch and disposal instructions. Disposal kits arrived between December 23rd and December 28th. The pilot project was designed to help families rid their homes of leftover prescription medication before their relatives came to visit.
By cloaking a simple drug-disposal method with a beloved holiday custom, Urgent Love and The Prevention Council empowered the families of one of America's most at-risk towns to give their loved ones a gift that will last beyond the holiday season, safety. In the first two weeks, the experiment netted a hefty 6.2 pounds of prescription pills, which nets out to thousands of potentially dangerous doses. The Prevention Council and Urgent Love will continue with several more upcoming initiatives targeting unused medications.
"Up to 70% of prescription medications are estimated to go unused in this country. Most of us have no idea that keeping them around the house could lead to a family member misusing them," said Nancy Hans, Executive Director of The Prevention Council of Roanoke. "Every one of us can play an important role in helping our family, friends and neighbors understand the risks of keeping unlocked and unused medications in the house."
"Our ultimate goal with this project is to inform and empower," Walt Boyle, Jr., architect of the Urgent Love Initiative, explained. "Those of us who have lost friends or family to the disease of addiction understand the risks. It requires new and creative ways to break through the noise; to help those who might not otherwise pay attention, get the message. This national pilot is designed to be talked about, because talking leads to solving."
To dispose of unused medications any time of year, visit www.disposeofmeds.org to access the DEA's medication disposal drop box locator.
Boyle concluded, "Kentucky is on the front lines of finding innovative answers to solving our nation's crisis. We're thrilled to be able to launch this pilot project in such a community-minded city like Frankfort to complement those efforts." He concluded, "our national crisis is a local crisis, first and foremost. Our bigger objective is to see every pharmacy in the country provide their customers access to in-store medication disposal drop boxes. It's the most common-sense and responsible way for pharmacies to step-up and help save lives, in the communities they serve."
About The Prevention Council of Roanoke
The Prevention Council of Roanoke is a community coalition which seeks to identify the critical risk behaviors and substance misuse issues that threaten the health and development of our local community.
As a nonprofit 501c3, we've been dedicated to building stronger, healthier communities since 2001. Together.
About The Urgent Love Initiative
The Urgent Love Initiative is a collaborative community engagement strategy designed to shift the conversation of substance use and loss out of the shadows and into a more accurate understanding of our collective challenge: putting actionable solutions and local resources at the fingertips of those who need it. Through partnerships and alliances, such local and national efforts are projects of the Prevention Council of Roanoke. www.urgentlove.org
About American Rx Group
The medication mail-back envelopes are provided by American RX Group, based in St. Cloud, MN. A strategic and contributing partner to the holiday pilot project, their system is fully compliant with The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and certified by the Department of Transportation.
Grey is the advertising network of Grey Group, which ranks among the largest global communications companies. www.grey.com
Nancy Hans – Executive Director of The Prevention Council of Roanoke
Walt Boyle Jr – Independent strategist at Urgent Love and founder of Free Range Brains
Owen J. Dougherty - Chief Communications Officer, Grey Group