When the DisposeRx and Walmart partnership was announced in early 2018, Mike Cash took note. Then a couple of months later, when he picked up prescriptions at his local Walmart store in Orange County, Calif., Cash asked the pharmacist for a packet of DisposeRx and was handed several.
Cash—who has been active in the Elks Club for nine years and has held various local committee leadership roles, used the packet to dispose of unneeded medication and knew then that he had to incorporate the product into his lodge’s drug awareness and prevention program. And in fact, his local chapter—Lodge #1475—was one of the first DisposeRx Community Outreach partners!
“The Elks National Drug Awareness Program is the largest volunteer drug awareness program in the United States, and we do events throughout the year to support this program,” Cash said. “The Elks are committed to eliminating the use and abuse of illegal drugs by all members of society and focus on educating children about the importance of living in a drug-free environment.”
As part of the national program, the Elks host a teacher resource section on their website known as KidZone and TeenZone, where teachers can download materials for their classrooms and promote learning activities and essay contests about drug education.
Prior to COVID-19, Cash and his fellow Elks members were active in a number of prevention and awareness events including National Night Out with the police department, Take Back Days, as well as the Gang Reduction and Intervention Partnership, (GRIP) which is a collaboration of police, the district attorney, sheriff, probation, school district and community partners, such as the Elks and Rotary.
For National Night Out in August 2019, Cash’s local chapter printed postcards, affixed DisposeRx packets to each and handed them out to more than 400 participants.
“The packets were very well received, and I must admit that I am amazed at how many people told me stories of their dad’s passing or an aunt’s passing from drug overdoses,” Cash said. “I know we are doing good work by encouraging people in our community to manage their medicine cabinets and dispose of medications consistently.”
Once the pandemic passes, Cash is looking forward to gearing back up with events and activities in Orange County and also is hopeful that he can spread the word about the value of DisposeRx with some of the other 1,800 Elks lodges throughout the country.
“Mike and Elks Lodge 1475 are certainly champions in our eyes,” said Ann Hamlin, DisposeRx Vice President of Scientific Affairs. “Education is a key aspect of our mission, and we admire the breadth of the Elks’ national drug prevention program, as well as the many ways the Orange County chapter has engaged to keep their community safe. We applaud their efforts and are grateful we can offer support.”