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Kankakee County Prescription for Prevention

The Pledge for Life Partnership Receives Generation Rx Medication Disposal Grant from the Cardinal Health Foundation

Funding Supports Community Programs to Fight Prescription Drug Misuse

Kankakee, IL – August 31, 2016 — The Cardinal Health Foundation announced that it has awarded the Pledge for Life Partnership grant funding from its Generation Rx program. The Pledge for Life is one of 17 non-profit organizations across the country to receive funding to help fight prescription drug misuse by improving community medication disposal programs.

Established in 1989, the Pledge or Life Partnership’s mission is to mobilize and coordinate public and private resources and initiatives to improve the quality of life for children and their families by making the community safe and healthier, focusing on initiatives to reduce substance abuse.

According to the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, nearly 70% of those who misuse prescription drugs get them from family members or friends, often from the medicine cabinet. “One of the simplest and most effective ways to fight prescription drug misuse is to encourage the proper disposal of unused or expired medication,” said Betsy Walker, Community Relations Director at Cardinal Health and Generation Rx Program Manager. “That’s why the Cardinal Health Foundation is investing $360,000 to support these programs and educate on proper disposal.”

With grant funding from the Generation Rx program, the Pledge for Life will work to increase awareness of Kankakee County’s drug disposal programs including those in place already at local police stations, and increase the participation of members of our community in the programs. This project has been named the Kankakee County Prescription for Prevention Project. A Prescription Drug Prevention work group has also been formed.

The Pledge for Life’s project is collaborative, partnering with other organizations and engaging local pharmacists, because pharmacists play a key role in educating their communities about how to use medications safely. Secured commitments to participate as members of the work group have come from a pharmacist with Walgreens, a national chain with three local locations, and from pharmacists working in our two area hospitals, Riverside Healthcare and Presence St. Mary’s Hospital. All local pharmacists and pharmacies are invited to join these efforts.

Young people are also involved in the project; according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, youth who learn about the risks of prescription drug misuse are up to 50% less likely to try prescription drugs. Young people also help influence their parents to properly dispose of unused or expired medications.

The Pledge for Life has established a Youth Advisory Council, with representatives from the high schools in the county. Advisory Board participants will be provided with leadership training so that they can plan and execute activities to address substance abuse issues in the community, such as inappropriate youth access to prescription drugs.

Included in the project activities as well, is the promotion of the bi-annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day run by the Kankakee Area Metropolitan Enforcement Group, Bourbonnais Police Department, Bradley Police Department and the Kankakee Police Department in partnership with the Drug Enforcement Administration. The next Take Back Day is October 22, 2016.

The Pledge for Life will measure the impact and outcomes of the disposal program’(s) promotion efforts and education efforts, and will seek potential opportunities for scaling up and spreading the program to other communities.

Since 2009, the Cardinal Health Foundation has invested over $5 million in partnerships and grants across the country to raise awareness and knowledge about the dangers of prescription drug misuse through the Generation Rx program.

“On behalf of Cardinal Health, we are pleased to support the work of the Pledge for Life Partnership,” Walker said.

Overall, the Kankakee County Prescription for Prevention Project’s ultimate goal is to ensure that every household in Kankakee County knows the following key messages:

  1. Take medications exactly as prescribed
  2. Store prescription drugs in locked and secure locations
  3. Properly dispose of unused medications
  4. Promote safe medication practices and teach others to do the same

Please contact kreed@i-kan.org or visit www.pledgeforlife.org/rxprevention if you are interested in becoming involved with these efforts.

About the Cardinal Health Foundation
The Cardinal Health Foundation supports local, national and international programs that improve health care efficiency, effectiveness and excellence and the overall wellness of the communities where Cardinal Health’s (NYSE:CAH) nearly 37,000 employees live and work. The Cardinal Health Foundation also offers grants to encourage community service among its employees and works through international agencies to donate much-needed medical supplies and funding to those who need them in times of disaster; because Cardinal Health is #AllInForGood. To learn more, visit www.CardinalHealth.com/community and visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CardinalHealthFoundation.