INDIANAPOLIS – In partnership with the Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative (RALI) Indiana and the Professional Firefighters Union of Indiana (PFFUI), Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett today announced a new education initiative focused on safe disposal of unused medicines. RALI will donate 25,000 drug disposal kits to five of the county’s fire departments, which will provide first responders with a crucial tool in the effort to fight the opioid crisis. The departments will soon distribute the kits within Indianapolis-area neighborhoods, allowing more Hoosiers to easily and safely dispose of unused prescription medication from their own homes.
“I am wholeheartedly dedicated to this cause and am proud of the work RALI Indiana and the Professional Firefighters Union of Indiana are doing to stamp out this crisis,” said Mayor Hogsett. “Our work to save lives and turn the tide on this epidemic is growing by the day and we will continuously work to ensure a positive future for our city and state.”
Launched in July, RALI Indiana is a diverse coalition of business and community leaders, patient organizations and other health care stakeholders dedicated to finding and supporting solutions to end the opioid epidemic. The group has partnered with several groups such as PFFUI to address opioid misuse in Indiana, to educate communities about the importance of safe drug disposal and to oversee the distribution of drug disposal kits.
The fire departments in the cities of Indianapolis and Lawrence along with the departments in Decatur, Pike and Wayne townships will distribute the kits at community events and through other outreach in the coming weeks and months.
“As firefighters, we see the human toll this epidemic takes every day,” said Indianapolis Fire Chief Ernest Malone. “But, these kits could keep someone prone to addiction from ever trying their first opioid. They are another small but critical step in ending this crisis.”
Indiana is one of four states where the fatal drug overdose rate has quadrupled since 1999. According to the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, more than 1,700 Hoosiers died from a drug overdose in 2017 – an all-time high and a 75 percent increase since 2011. Governor Eric Holcomb and his administration along with state lawmakers are tackling the issue on many fronts including expanding addiction treatment, recruiting more medical providers trained in addiction diseases and enhancing data-sharing to better track the crisis.
“Thanks to the efforts of organizations like RALI Indiana, our state stands a chance at ending this public safety crisis once and for all,” said State Representative and Indianapolis Fire Department Lieutenant Dan Forestal. “The work these groups and their partner organizations are doing is crucial to educating and empowering Hoosiers to stop this crisis in its tracks.”
For more information about RALI Indiana, the fight against Indiana’s opioid epidemic and how to safely dispose of unused medication through multiple methods,
ABOUT RALI Indiana:
RALI Indiana is an alliance of local, state and national organizations committed to finding solutions to end the opioid crisis in Indiana. Partners of the coalition include:
Accelerate Indiana Municipalities
Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America
Drug Free Marion County
The National Grange
Indiana Manufacturers Association
Indiana Sheriffs’ Association
National Black Nurses Association
National Consumer League
Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America
Professional Firefighters Union of Indiana
Wellness Council of Indiana