August 20— The West Virginia Drug Intervention Institute (WV DII), Inc. and Fruth Pharmacy have partnered to spread the word about medication safety during the months of August and September 2020. The two organizations have launched a medication safety initiative for families and young children using the Institute’s Don’t Keep Rex Around™ Medication Safety Program.
The goal is to help educate Fruth customers and families of young children about the dangers prescription medications can pose in the home.
“After working with The West Virginia Drug Intervention Institute, we realized our pharmacists would be the best line of defense to help train people on how to dispose of unused or expired medications properly. It is our community responsibility to help remove drugs from homes where children and other at-high-risk persons may have access and be harmed. Fruth Pharmacy is committed to help educate students and their families on medication safety and disposal,”
Lynne Fruth, President of Fruth Pharmacy shared.
The campaign will take place August 24, 2020 through September 30, 2020 and will include the distribution of medication disposal bags and counseling from Fruth pharmacists on proper medication disposal in 29 Fruth locations throughout West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio.
Activity sheets and coloring pages will be available for children, including a coloring contest sponsored by Fruth Pharmacy. In addition, WV DII medication safety ambassador, Rex the Rx™ will air LIVE on August 28 with special guest, Fruth Pharmacy President, Lynne Fruth. This live program will share special messages about medication safety for families throughout the tri-state area. The program will air live at 3pm and can be viewed at: www.wvdii.org.
Created by WV DII President, Dr. Susan Bissett and CEO of Murphy Media, Joe Murphy, the program uses a live-action, real time generated, cartoon avatar (a pill bottle) named Rex™ to help educate young children about the importance of not touching medication without the help of a trusted adult and to never share medications. The program has been delivered to pre-k and kindergarten classrooms in five WV counties this past year. However, with schools shuttered due to COVID-19, the WV DII is taking a new approach bringing Rex™ to Fruth Pharmacy and LIVE online to share the importance of medication safety.
“During this time of social distancing and stay at home orders, families are closer in proximity than ever before,” explained Dr. Susan Bissett, WV DII President. “Life is disrupted and medications may be more accessible to small children. We are taking this opportunity to educate families about medication safety and proper storage of medication.”
Data released by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse in April 2018 reported a 93% annual increase in unintentional prescription medication exposure among children 5 and younger. The report also indicated that 9 of 10 unintentional childhood poisonings occur at home. In addition, poison control centers receive an average of 32 calls a day for children exposed to opioids—60% of those calls are for children under 5 years of age. And, 48% of all
pediatric medication exposures are from grandparents’ medications. You can learn more about the program by visiting: www.wvdii.org/rex.
About the WV DII
The West Virginia Drug Intervention Institute (WV DII) at the University of Charleston is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The mission of the WV DII is to reduce deaths in West Virginia from opioid and drug abuse by being (a) an independent advocate for life-enhancing drug policies, and practices, (b) a hub for coordinating drug response activities, and (c) an educational center to address the prevalence of drug abuse and the stigma of drug addiction. The Institute is
housed at the University of Charleston in West Virginia’s state capital and is designed to: identify and assess best practices through research and data analysis, provide education programs on prescription drug safety, collaborate with municipalities and agencies to promote best practices to prevent overdose deaths, advocate for policies that promote educational and employment opportunities for those in recovery, and identify and implement prevention
About the Don’t Keep Rx Around™ Medication Safety Program
Co-created by WV DII president, Dr. Susan Bissett and Joe Murphy, CEO of Murphy Media in 2017, the Don’t Keep Rx Around™ Medication Safety Program is a curriculum and public health campaign that utilizes evidence-based practices to teach medication safety to pre-k and kindergarten students throughout West Virginia. Using an animated character developed by Murphy Media, Rex™ the Rx, WV DII staff visit elementary classrooms across the state to talk to children about medication safety. This innovative approach to educating students about the dangers of misusing prescription medications provides opportunities for both in classroom and distance education and is based on WV Pre-K Education Standards. In addition to the presentation and interactive media, the WV DII provides each school with curricular materials and allotment of medication disposal systems. To date over 4,000 pre-k students in six counties have been educated through the Don’t Keep Rx Around™ Medication Safety School-Based Program. Due to COVID-19, WV DII worked with Murphy Media to reengineer the program to a virtual platform reaching over 40,000 households in 13 of West Virginia’s 55 counties in Spring 2020. We are planning to continue both school-based and online engagement in the coming academic year.
About Fruth Pharmacy
Fruth Pharmacy is a family-owned company serving the tri-state area of West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky. Fruth Pharmacy has been in business since 1952 and has grown to 30 locations.