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Major statewide education effort launched

By Staff | Dec 12, 2020

CONCORD – The New Hampshire Hospital Association (NHHA), the New Hampshire Department of Education (NHDOE), and the Foundation for Healthy Communities (FHC), in partnership with the Public Health Networks and the Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative of New Hampshire (RALI NH), are currently distributing 25,000 medicine disposal bags throughout the state, bringing the total distribution to 50,000 over the past few months. The partners joined forces to educate New Hampshire families on safe medicine storage and disposal practices as schools began reopening this fall and parents face continued challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While individuals and families across the state have been staying safe at home, the opioid epidemic has remained a concern for those struggling with addiction or managing recovery.

The initiative is delivering Deterra Drug Deactivation disposal pouches donated by RALI NH to staging locations across the state, including the Public Health Networks who will be making the safe disposal pouches available to their communities at no cost. Annika Stanley-Smith, Director of Substance Misuse Prevention at Capital Area Public Health Network, a RALI NH state partner says, “We appreciate all the partners that have stepped up to join this effort, we want to make sure every New Hampshire community has access to these medicine disposal pouches. Awareness of safe storage and disposal practices is especially important these days with all that state residents are enduring with the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Prior to this effort, these public and private partners worked together to collect, pack, and deliver 25,000 Wellness Kits to participating schools and regional pick-up sites across New Hampshire. The Wellness Kits included a wide collection of donated health and safety products and educational materials such as dental kits along with the medicine disposal pouches.

With the holiday season upon us and many individuals and families across the state still spending more time than usual at home to prevent the spread of the pandemic, it is important to understand how to properly store and dispose of prescriptions as a way to take action against substance misuse. Always making sure medicines are securely stored and out of the reach of children and teens and finding time to go through medicine cabinets to safely dispose of unused or expired medications can make a difference or even save a life. Taking time to talk with family and friends about the dangers related to prescription drug misuse is an important way to raise awareness of how we can all help prevent misuse and addiction. You can find more information about the signs of substance misuse, at-home disposal options and take back locations across the state to keep your community safe by visiting https://www.ralinh.org/.

“The safe and proper disposal of unused prescription medicines is a critical element in fighting prescription drug misuse. Given our state’s current opioid crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges that both are creating for our patients and their families, we’re grateful for the partners who have shown tremendous leadership in the fight against opioid addiction in supporting this effort,” said New Hampshire Hospital Association, President, Steve Ahnen.

If you or someone you know needs help, resources are available. Visit www.findtreatment.gov or call 800-662-HELP (4357) to find treatment providers near you. As always if there is a life-threatening emergency call 9-1-1.


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