Every day in Massachusetts, four people die from an opioid overdose. It is one of the most difficult public health challenges facing the Commonwealth, and the country. Prescription drug abuse cannot be defeated by any one person, family, company, government agency or law enforcement official, and the nation’s biopharmaceutical industry has long recognized our role in the fight.
That’s why, on Wednesday, February 24, PhRMA President and CEO Stephen J. Ubl joined Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and Norwood, MA Police Chief William Brooks, president of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, to formally launch “MyOldMeds Massachusetts,” a public information campaign to drive awareness around safe prescription drug use, storage and disposal.
MyOldMeds Massachusetts is an educational resource that is designed to drive public awareness about the importance of safe use, storage and disposal of medicines. It walks people through how to dispose of their medicines safely in their homes, directly in their trash, without fear of harming the environment. It highlights local Massachusetts resources for bringing unused or unwanted medicines to 150 (and growing) drop boxes in law enforcement agencies across the Commonwealth. And it provides information on substance abuse treatment options in the Commonwealth and offers links to information and resources for parents that are concerned about the substance abuse risks facing their kids.
As Governor Baker said, “Too many lives are being lost in the Commonwealth as a result of the opioid epidemic, and opportunities to bring stakeholders together to build public awareness and encourage action are just one step we can take to curb this tragedy. As we continue our work with the legislature, this new resource provides one more tool we can use to begin solving this crisis here in Massachusetts.”
The biopharmaceutical industry remains deeply committed to working with states, elected officials, law enforcement, doctors and other stakeholders to raise awareness of this important issue and drive policies that can combat the abuse, misuse and diversion of prescription medicines. Learn more about our policies to prevent prescription drug abuse and diversion and the MyOldMeds campaign.
Priscilla VanderVeer Priscilla VanderVeer is a deputy vice president, public affairs, at PhRMA. Ms. VanderVeer has more than 15 years of experience communicating important health care issues to a wide variety of audiences, including medical, health and patient advocates; policymakers and opinion-leaders; and the general public. At PhRMA, Ms. VanderVeer leads the development and execution of communications strategies and activities for the organization’s key state advocacy priorities. She lives in Silver Spring, Maryland with her husband, Ken and their two dogs: Bea Arthur, a tiny 5 lb. Maltese and Henry, a slightly larger-than-average Yorkshire Terrier.