State Sen. Jennifer L. Flanagan (D-Leominster) has joined a large group of individuals and organizations endorsing the Safe Homes Coalition, and welcoming a new partner in the fight against prescription drug abuse and addiction: Area realtors.
She joined Gov. Charlie Baker for the program’s initial launch in September, and the Safe Homes Coalition recently launched a video of Flanagan’s endorsement, available on its website, www.makeitasafehome.org/boston.
The Safe Homes Coalition leads a unique partnership comprised of the Greater Boston Association of REALTORS (a division of the Greater Boston Real Estate Board), Learn to Cope, Millennium Health and local government and law enforcement leaders. The coalition also includes organizations representing the medical, dental and health care communities, recovery advocates, youth athletics and other community partnerships.
“I am thrilled to have the Safe Home Coalitions on board partnering with communities to take the steps that will ensure safety for families and realtors,” Flanagan said. “We initially launched this coalition in September, to align with Recovery Month, and this is the perfect time of year to educate people on how to safely store and dispose their prescriptions in order to avoid theft and misuse. It makes sense, and is another great way to prevent illegal drug sales and abuse.”
Children are particularly vulnerable, as 90 percent of addictions start in the teenage years. The Partnership for Drug Free Kids reports that one in six teens has used a prescription drug not prescribed to them in order to get high or change their mood and prescription drugs are now the most commonly abused drugs among 12- and 13-year-olds.
Preventing access to prescription drugs is key to addressing the public health epidemic this nation is facing. The Safe Homes Coalition’s Keep Kids Safe Program provides education and awareness around this issue and distributes reusable, resealable bags to real estate professionals for their clients to use to secure prescription medications while their homes are being shown to potential buyers. This program educates the public about the need to safeguard their prescription medications, as they would any other valuables, prior to opening their homes to potential buyers or others.
The Safe Homes Coalition received commendation by the California State Senate in 2014 for its work in San Diego, distributing more than 10,000 bags and educating the public through presentations at community events. Greater Boston is the second location for Keep Kids Safe and the Coalition plans to distribute another 10,000 bags, participate in educational events throughout the region, and release other multimedia educational materials.
To learn more about the Greater Boston Keep Kids Safe program, to partner with it, to request a speaker for an educational program in your community, to obtain Keep Kids Safe bags, or to donate, visit www.makeitasafehome.org/boston.