Photo by: Greg M. Cooper)
The New Hampshire Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative (RALI NH), a coalition of statewide community organizations on the front lines of the fight against the opioid epidemic, is celebrating three years of service.
And he has 117 tons of prescription drugs to show.
According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.7 million people abused prescription pain relievers, 4.9 million people abused prescription stimulants, and 5.9 million people abused prescription painkillers. abused prescription tranquilizers or sedatives that year. The survey also showed that the majority of misused prescription drugs came from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.
“I have been delighted to work with RALI NH in the fight against opioid addiction,” said State Senator Donna Soucy (D-Manchester). “Their participation in Prescription Medication Take Back Days, the RALI CARES Educational Trailer Tour to educate parents about the signs of drug abuse, and their numerous online forums and community events have all gone a long way in the fight. against opioid abuse. “
RALI-NH has been recognized by the US Drug Enforcement Agency as “2019 Prevention Coalition Leader: Statewide”. They have distributed over 176,600 safe drug disposal sachets to prevent prescription drugs from falling into the wrong hands.
Another member of the RALI team is Mary Drew, Founder and CEO of Reality Check, Inc. in Jaffrey. She told NHJournal that the efforts of volunteers to pull excess prescription drugs out of medicine cabinets – and away from those battling drug addiction – have been hugely successful. According to the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency, 122 New Hampshire law enforcement agencies participated in the most recent National Recovery Day on April 24, 2021, when 120 collection sites collected 13,149 pounds of unnecessary prescription drugs.
During RALI’s three years in New Hampshire, 235,044 pounds, or over 117 tons, were collected.
RALI’s support for Reality Check proved particularly fortuitous during lockdowns linked to COVID-19. Overdose deaths rose 31% in 2020, Drew said, as people struggling with drug addiction were isolated and unable to get the community support they needed.
RALI provided a grant of $ 30,000 which helped finance the purchase of a building in Jaffrey, and later a smaller grant to repair an outdoor patio.
“We were able to offer this space for outdoor meetings. Alcoholics Anonymous, support groups – people could still access the support services and get the social connection they desperately needed in a time of so much stress, ”said Drew.
“When some people were stuck looking at a Zoom [meeting], we were able to bring our people together face to face ”, thanks to RALI.
Supporters of the RALI effort are already looking to 2022, when the effects of COVID and its mitigation efforts will likely still be felt among the most vulnerable communities.
“RALI NH has done a great job in Littleton and across the north of the country to raise awareness and help educate the community about the prevention of opioid addiction and the resources available to combat addiction,” said Senator Erin Hennessey (R-Littleton). “I look forward to continuing to work with RALI NH to combat opioid addiction. “