We are Stronger Together: Partnership, Collaboration, and Passion for Prevention
In 2022, the Safe Communities Coalition of Hunterdon County, managed by Prevention Resources, won CADCA’s Dose of Prevention Challenge, which took place during National Medicine Misuse Awareness Month in October.
We were excited to participate in this informative and engaging challenge. We called on our Coalition members and partners to collaborate on how we could best reach our community with prevention messages in diverse and creative ways.
We partnered with JP Case Middle School to present “Dose of Prevention” to their Staff In-Service, which included information slides on cough medicine and prescription drugs, as well as provided brochures and safe medicine dose spoons. Of the 70 people who attended, nearly 80% reported that they learned a great deal from the event, and 88% reported that they were likely or very likely to share what they learned with others.
We also partnered with Harvest & Oceans Family Success Centers at their Virtual Parent Conference to include a PSA video about Medicine Safety OTC & Rx for Medicine Awareness Month. We met with 37 curious parents and professionals.
We held an innovative contest for middle and high school students called “Posters for Prevention.” Posters were required to include themes of National Medicine Misuse Awareness Month and help raise awareness of the dangers of prescription drug and over-the-counter cough medicine misuse. It was mandatory for the posters to include a factual message. The contest was promoted via Salvation Army Youth Group, Del Val Alliance, HCYC (Hunterdon County Youth Coalition), Round Valley Riders, CIACC (Children’s Inter-Agency Coordinating Council), and select Facebook groups. Posters were judged on categories of originality, relevance, design, mechanics, message, persuasiveness, appropriate use of facts, and overall impression.
The social media campaign included 157 posts that reached 4,243 people in both English and Spanish. Prevention messaging included safe medicine use, storage, and disposal of OTC and Rx, as well as National DEA Take Back Day, which encourages people to remove all unneeded medications from the home, minimizing the risk of misuse.
Our partners at Everitt Farm Pumpkin Junction welcomed us to join them during their Pet Parade and Corn Maze events to distribute brochures in English and Spanish, Safe Med Disposal Pet Bandanas, and Safe Medicine Dose Spoons.
For Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day, we partnered with ShopRite regional pharmacies, and Grayrock Pharmacy to implement “If you care, don’t share” safe medicine initiative. This included 18,000 pharmacy prescription bags, as well as three pull-up banners and posters about safe medicine use, storage, and disposal prevention messaging. Our partners at Flemington Food Pantry and Drug-Free Task Force helped distribute Family Conversation Cards that included Medicine Safety, Medicine Dose Spoons, and Brochures in English & Spanish to 75 families.
We also implemented a digital billboard, known as the Clocktower, in Raritan Township for DEA Take Back Day, held on Saturday, 10/29. The ad appeared eight seconds per minute from 6:00 a.m. until midnight each day and reached 13,714 people aged 18 and above.
Our capacity has always been our greatest strength in the Coalition. Our collaborative partnerships with all sectors have been pivotal to implementing innovative, data driven, and successful initiatives. When we called on our partners to help us work extra hard on the Dose of Prevention contest – they were there in full force to help get the message out every way they could. With that, we reached over 36,000 people.
We are so grateful to CADCA’s Dose of Prevention Challenge for allowing us the opportunity to be part of this experience and for the incredible honor recognizing Safe Communities Coalition’s hard efforts.
Amy Menes, MA CPS is the Chair for the Hunterdon Safe Communities Coalition, of Prevention Resources, Inc. in New Jersey. Safe Communities Coalition has been proudly serving the community since 2009 with a vision to live in a safe and healthy community by eliminating drug use, underage drinking, and prescription drug misuse. More information can be found on our website, Facebook page and Instagram page.
Increased awareness can only mean increased prevention. Join us in the fight against teen cough medicine abuse by exploring and sharing our free resources.