ANNAPOLIS, MD. (April 26, 2018) –Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates Michael E. Busch and a diverse alliance of community leaders, health care stakeholders and business representatives today announced the formation of the Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative (RALI) Maryland, a new coalition to address the state’s opioid crisis.
“The proper and safe disposal of prescription drugs is critical in our state’s fight against the opioid epidemic,” said Speaker Busch. “It will take everyone – community groups, healthcare advocates, pharmacists, first responders, and the business community – working together to raise awareness about prevention and treatment of opioid addiction. That is why I’m so pleased to join with RALI Maryland to call on all of our citizens to participate in National Take Back Day or use one of the safe options to dispose of their unneeded prescription drugs.”
RALI Maryland consists of more than a dozen local, state and national organizations that have come together to find solutions to end the opioid crisis in Maryland. The group and its partners will highlight programs that help save lives, mobilize stakeholders to educate and partner with policymakers, provide readily-available informational resources for residents and share the stories of those on the frontlines of the crisis.
RALI Maryland’s website, RALImd.org, will serve as a hub for information and resources about the initiative, its featured programs and addiction and substance use disorders.
In 2016, more than 2,000 Maryland residents lost their lives to drug overdoses – a 59 percent increase in overdose deaths from 2015. Research shows that about 60 percent of people who have abused prescription medications got the drugs from a home medicine cabinet. Maryland has implemented a forceful response to the crisis with a series of executive actions and new programs to help residents and community leaders address addiction.
“Around 66 percent of the more than 63,600 drug overdose deaths in 2016 involved an opioid,” said General Arthur T. Dean, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, CADCA. “The national opioid epidemic is going to take everyone working together. Primary prevention efforts are needed now more than ever.”
Ahead of “National Take Back Day” on April 28, RALI Maryland also announced itsinaugural program to educate patients on how to safely dispose of their unwanted or unused medications. The program includes a partner-driven effort to disseminate 50,000 prescription drug disposal kits to residents free of charge. As part of the effort, RALI Maryland partners will educate residents about the importance of proper drug disposal and how to do it, including takeback days, local drop-boxes and FDA-approved methods for in-home disposal.
“As always, MedChi, The Medical Society, encourages all Marylanders to participate. Too often, unused prescription drugs find their way into the wrong hands. That's dangerous and often tragic,” said Gene M. Ransom III, MedChi CEO.
“We all have a responsibility to address the opioid crisis in Maryland,” said Maryland Chamber of Commerce Vice President for Government Affairs Larry Richardson. “The devastating effects of drug addiction can’t be understated. It destroys lives on every level, including job retention, employability and workforce development.”
For more information about RALI Maryland, visit RALImd.org.
ABOUT RALI Maryland:
RALI Maryland is an alliance of more than a dozen local, state and national organizations committed to finding solutions to end the opioid crisis in Maryland. Members of the coalition include:
Cecil County Community Drug Coalition
Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America
Maryland Chamber of Commerce
Maryland Fraternal Order of Police
Maryland Pharmacists Association
Maryland Rural Health Association
Maryland State Grange
MedChi (the Maryland State Medical Society)
National Black Nurses Association
National Consumers League
Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America
Professional Firefighters of Maryland
Veterans Health Council
Vets Against Drugs
Vietnam Veterans of America