We have talked with many of our 256 Community Outreach partners over the past few weeks and hear and understand the frustrations they express that some of their programs have slowed or temporarily stalled due to COVID-19.
But what we have also heard is that this pandemic is no match for our dedicated partners and their commitment to prevent medication misuse and abuse in their communities.
We are heartened by those who are finding creative and alternate ways to engage with and educate their stakeholders about the risks of leftover medications—especially during quarantining.
One such partner is Howell Township Municipal Alliance in New Jersey.
“This is a time of increased uncertainty, stress and anxiety,” said Christa Riddle, Howell Township Municipal Alliance Coordinator. “COVID-19 is and will be taking a toll on people’s mental well-being and can present an extra difficult time for those already in recovery from substance abuse and mental health disorders.”
The Howell Township Municipal Alliance collaborates across the community to prevent substance abuse, underage drinking, alcoholism, tobacco use, teen vaping and other at-risk behaviors among youth and all 52,000 citizens. It also promotes physical, mental, emotional and social health and well-being and the reduction of substance use and mental health disorder stigmas. The Alliance achieves its mission through providing awareness, resources and education.
Howell has partnered with DisposeRx during the past year, sharing our donated packets and providing education.
“DisposeRx at-home packets are one of several medication disposal options offered by the Howell Alliance and Howell Police Department’s collaborative Project Medicine Drop program, but during these periods of social distancing, DisposeRx is the preferred method for our citizens to immediately dispose of their unwanted medications,” Riddle said.
Riddle developed a “contactless” way of distributing the packets and providing printed education materials at the Howell Township Town Hall.
“We were concerned that more time at home could provide convenient access to the family medicine cabinet and household members’ prescriptions at a point in life when people are mentally more vulnerable,” Riddle said.
We know the Alliance and all of our other Community Outreach partners are looking forward to a more normal time where we can continue our good work through active engagement in our communities.