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‘Lock your meds,’ agencies urge Wilson patients

Updated: Nov 2

Posted Friday, December 13, 2019 7:07 pm

By Olivia Neeley


Wilson County agency leaders hold up medication lockboxes. The "Lock Your Meds" campaign is underway here and aims to reduce prescription misuse by keeping medication out of the wrong hands.

A community-wide effort is underway to help reduce opioid misuse.


Community Impact North Carolina has partnered with various Wilson County organizations for the “Lock Your Meds” campaign, an initiative centered on securing medications in a lockbox, cabinet or locked closet to prevent children, friends and loved ones from gaining access.


The “Lock Your Meds” campaign works to raise awareness about the importance of assessing the amount of medication in a person’s home, promoting proper storage of medications in the home to reduce unauthorized access and encouraging proper disposal of unused medications, officials said.


“CINC is excited about Wilson County’s investment in addressing the issue of opioid misuse and the collaborative efforts that are currently taking place,” said Anna Godwin, executive director of Community Impact North Carolina.


The agency, which operates in Wilson, is a statewide nonprofit organization that specializes in training substance prevention coalitions across the state on how to conduct primary prevention.


“This only supports the notion that Wilson is a community that values partnerships across organizations,” Godwin said.


Community Impact North Carolina staffers want to continue to build momentum and have additional organizations join in the partnership to help further the community’s awareness of opioid misuse, and provide residents and organizations practical methods to help reduce access to medications and reduce misuse.


The three most commonly misused classes of medications include opioids, central nervous system depressants and stimulants. Officials say 67% of people who misuse prescription medication in North Carolina report getting the medicine from their family and friends.


In order to reduce rates of opioid and other medication misuse, officials say it’s vital to control access to the pills.


“The Wilson County Health Department is very glad to be a supporting partner in the ‘Lock Your Meds’ campaign,” said Health Director Teresa Ellen. “Prevention is the most important component to decreasing the impact of substance misuse.”


BUILDING MOMENTUM


Community Impact North Carolina has partnered with various community agencies including the Wilson County Substance Prevention Coalition, Wilson County Department of Social Services, Wilson County Health Department, the Recovery Concepts Community Center, known as RC3, Wilson Forward and Wilson Value Drug Store on educating the public about locking up medication.


Wilson County DSS has also educated and provided lockboxes to its seniors and foster parents to ensure access to medications can be limited.


“Safe storage of medication is an important issue for all the customers we serve, especially our senior citizens,” said Candice Rountree, Wilson County DSS program manager. “Wilson County DSS values collaboration and is invested in working with Community Impact North Carolina to prevent opioid misuse and opioid overdose deaths.”


Wilson Forward, an organization that aims to improve Wilsonians’ quality of life, has incorporated the “Lock Your Meds” campaign into its Wilson Wellness Collaborative Plan.


“Our community is fortunate to have such a strong collaboration to support initiatives addressing substance misuse, and the ‘Lock Your Meds’ campaign is one of the many local efforts we support,” said Paula Benson, Wilson Forward’s executive director. “Through recent discussions and presentations with health and wellness partners, we have recognized the significant impact of medications unintentionally falling into the wrong hands. We hope this campaign will encourage Wilson community members to secure all medications at all times.”


Community Impact North Carolina was selected by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services to coordinate statewide implementation of the “Lock Your Meds” campaign. In addition to those statewide efforts, CINC has worked to ensure Wilson County agencies and residents have access to those same resources.


LOCKBOXES AVAILABLE


Medication lockboxes and other campaign materials are available at Community Impact North Carolina and the Wilson County Substance Prevention Coalition.


Agencies, churches, civic groups and medical offices that wish to partner with the “Lock Your Meds” campaign can contact Tyler Watson at Community Impact North Carolina by calling 252-237-1242 or emailing tyler@impactcarolina.org.


Residents can also drop off unused medications at Wilson Value Drug, the Wilson Police Department, the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office, the CVS pharmacy on Tarboro Street and Walgreens on N.C. 42.

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