CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — 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.
Two local agencies, The West Virginia Drug Intervention Institute (WV DII), Inc. and Fruth Pharmacy have partnered to spread the word about medication safety throughout the month of October.
October is Medication Safety Awareness month. However, the two groups have been hard at work, partnering since August to spread their message by launching 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.
“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. We are committed to help educate students and their families on medication safety and disposal,” explained Lynne Fruth, President of Fruth Pharmacy.
The campaign includes the distribution of free 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.
“We are hoping to have something for everyone — for both the parents and the grandparents as well as the kids.”
In addition, WV DII medication safety ambassador, Rex the Rx™ continues his LIVE visits through Facebook. This live program shares special messages about medication safety for families throughout the tri-state area.
Created by WV DII President, Dr. Susan Bissett and CEO of Murphy Media, Joe Murphy, the program introduces you to a live-action, real time generated, pill bottle cartoon avatar named Rex™.
Rex was designed 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 was developed to be delivered to pre-k and kindergarten classrooms in five WV counties this past year. However, with schools closed 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.”