April 16, 2021
MCHD works with pharmacies to share warning of drug abuse
MOBILE, Alabama — In an effort to inform the public about the dangers of opioid abuse, the Mobile County Health Department’s (MCHD) Overdose Data to Action (OD2A) program is beginning an initiative to spread the message with a unique partnership with pharmacies. OD2A is providing the bags in which pharmacies place medications for their customers. In bold letters is “Opioids. Serious Addiction Can Start With A Simple Prescription.” Next are bullet points containing “misuse and abuse” information, as well as “actions you can take” regarding opioids. A telephone number to the OD2A program is included at the end.
“We wanted a campaign to get out the message of our overdose prevention program at MCHD,” said Veronica Mercadel, the program administrator. “The program is not just about opioids. It is about all substance abuse and overdose.”
Along with Mercadel, her team of John Richardson, Deirdre Johnson, Ashley Nicholson, and LaShundra McMillian worked with Pebbles King, the Bureau of Community and Nutrition Services director, and MCHD graphics specialist James Currie to complete the project.
“It is an impactful way to get the message out about prescription opioid abuse by putting our message on a pharmacy bag,” Currie said. “We have included misuse and abuse information and a call to action for the patient to help us stop the abuse of prescription medications. I have used this direct marketing approach many times in my career, and I know how impactful this component can be for a campaign.”
Signed up to give out the bags include locally owned medical drug dispensaries (Springhill Pharmacy, Medicap Mobile and Spanish Fort, Dawes Point Pharmacy, Royal Pharmacy, Rx Express Pharmacy, Deuel Drugs, Three Notch Pharmacy, Midtown Pharmacy, Saraland Pharmacy, Compound Pharmaceutical Technologies, Semmes Pharmacy, Saraland Pharmacy, McConaghy Drug Store), as well as Sam’s Club at 601 East I-65 Service Road in Mobile.
OD2A is funded by a grant through the Alabama Department of Public Health along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They also partner with Project Thrive (Trauma Healing and Resiliency In the Wake of Violent Events), a program run by the Mobile Police Department’s Office of Strategic Initiatives.
OD2A focuses on the complex and changing nature of the drug overdose epidemic. It highlights the need for an interdisciplinary, comprehensive, and cohesive public health approach. For more information on OD2A and the pharmacy bag project, call 251-554-2134.