The Governor’s Prevention Partnership announced the launch of the “Prevention Starts With You” on Monday at the Legislative Office Building.
This landmark initiative, the first of its kind in Connecticut, will address substance misuse through a public awareness campaign about the vital role adults can play in drug prevention and the distribution of 50,000 drug deactivation and disposal pouches and conversation starters on how to talk to kids about drugs and alcohol to residents of Greater Hartford and New Haven over the next 11 months.
“This campaign is a reminder of the simple activities and actions that we can each do that make a huge difference in the lives of our young people,” said Kelly Juleson, Co-President of The Governor’s Prevention Partnership.
Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy secured a Congressionally Directed Spending project through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for The Governor’s Prevention Partnership for $1.2 million.
“Medicine cabinets are ticking time bombs,” Senator Blumenthal said. “They’re full of stuff that is dangerous – opioids, painkillers, potentially addictive substances. We need to get them out of the medicine cabinets, get them out of homes… and dispose of them in a way that is safe health-wise and environmentally… and that’s what these [pouches] will do.”
“Prevention is one of the most effective tools we have to tackle the opioid epidemic,” Senator Murphy said. “The federal funding we secured for this campaign is going to help save thousands of lives by ensuring kids know the dangers of misusing prescription drugs. No community has been spared in this crisis, and as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee I’m continuing to push for funding that supports prevention and recovery efforts in our state.”
Governor Lamont, Co-Chair of The Governor’s Prevention Partnership, expressed his support. “This initiative is critically important for our young people,” Governor Lamont said. “Effective prevention happens every day. Small steps have a huge impact. Only by speaking consistently, honestly, and openly with the youth in our lives can we truly help them avoid the dangers of drugs and alcohol.”
“The campaign spearheaded by GPP addresses the opioid epidemic by encouraging adults to have these conversations,” Nancy Navarretta, Commissioner of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services said. “A trusted adult talking to a niece and nephew, a son, a daughter, a neighbor, can really turn someone’s life around.”
“Everybody in the state needs to step up and be part of this solution,” said State Comptroller Sean Scanlon. “We can’t just do this with a few sets of parents, or a few community organizations… This has to be everybody.”
“We’re encouraging families to dispose of unused and unwanted prescription medications in a way that’s safe and also environmentally friendly,” Department of Consumer Protection Deputy Commissioner Shirley Skyers-Thomas said. “If we have expired, unused, unwanted meds, we can regularly dispose of them.”
“This project shows [The Partnership’s] continued commitment to prevention Jason Sundby, CEO of Verde Technologies, the company that makes Deterra said. “I also applaud and thank [Governor Lamont] for demonstrating forward-thinking leadership in supporting initiatives that prioritize the health and well-being of Connecticut’s citizens.”
Residents of Greater Hartford and Greater New Haven will have the opportunity to access drug deactivation pouches made by Deterra. These pouches are offered at no cost and will be distributed by partners including The Open Hearth, The Hartford Marathon Foundation, The City of Middletown Public Health Department, Middlesex YMCA, Connecticut Foodshare, CBIA, The Latino Way, and Manchester Change Collaborative.
The announcement included many other state and local officials and community members including Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, Middletown Mayor Ben Florsheim, State Senator Saud Anwar (East Hartford, South Windsor, East Windsor, and Ellington), State Rep. Mary Welander (Derby, Hamden, Orange, Woodbridge), Caroline Austin, Hartford Resident and Community Organizer, David Ruela, Program Coordinator, Amplify, and Joe Brennan, Co-Chair, The Governor’s Prevention Partnership,
Those who would like to request a pouch can do so via a form on the website PreventionCT.org