June 7, 2018
Staff report, The Tennessean
A Tennessee campaign to combat the spread of opioid abuse by promoting the proper disposal of unneeded and expired pills has won a prestigious public relations award.
The “Don’t Be An Accidental Drug Dealer” campaign, which was spearheaded by BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee and MP&F Strategic Communications, was awarded Best of Show at the Public Relations Society of America’s Silver Anvil ceremony in New York City on Thursday.
The campaign began in 2015 when BlueCross, which had covered more than 1 million opioid prescriptions for its members, began searching for a community partner it could support to raise awareness about opioid abuse, according to a news release.
The company ultimately awarded a $1.3 million grant to “Count It! Lock It! Drop It!,” or CLD, a drug takeback awareness program based in Manchester, Tennessee. The program encouraged members of the public to count their prescription pills, lock them up and to properly dispose of used or expired pills at drug drop box or pill takeback events. The grant funding allowed the CLD program to expand to 44 counties identified as hot spots for opioid abuse.
Since the campaign began, more than 105,000 pounds of pills have been collected in Tennessee through drop boxes or takeback events led by the Drug Enforcement Administration. BlueCross believes the awareness campaign contributed heavily to that total.
“Over the course of two years, this campaign greatly increased awareness of the opioid epidemic and contributed to close to 50 tons of pills being removed from circulation in Tennessee,” Roy Vaughn, a BlueCross senior vice president, said in the news release. “We are proud of our team and our agency, MP&F, for the great job they’ve done.”
Read the full story on The Tennessean.