Author: Joe Davis, Executive Director, Florida Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs
Our commitment to keeping our children safe and improving our communities has not wavered during the pandemic. To further this commitment, we are proud to announce our partnership with the Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative (RALI) of Florida. RALI Florida engages state and community leaders to exchange best practices and provides resources that help prevent the misuse of prescription medications. The Florida Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs looks forward to elevating our initiatives to continue our fight to eradicate the opioid crisis in the Sunshine State.
Education is the first line of defense to stop opioid misuse, and RALI Florida is a leader in this space, uniting with community partners to educate Floridians on the safe use, storage, and disposal of prescription medicines. Over the summer, RALI Florida announced a donation of 25,000 at-home drug disposal kits to the Community Coalition Alliance, a network of community drug coalitions across the state. To further elevate this effort, the Community Coalition Alliance hosted a tele-town hall and a Facebook Live event that reached thousands of Floridians. During the tele-town hall, a panel of experts including St. Augustine Beach Police Chief Robert Hardwick were available to answer live questions and discuss safe storage and disposal in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, providing unique ways to access these innovative drug disposal solutions. The Community Coalition Alliance Facebook Live included messages from Representative Paul Renner and Representative Cyndi Stevenson on the importance of education, and provided parents with the “red flags” of drug misuse in partnership with former law enforcement from Code 3.
Efforts continued in partnership with Danielle Thomas, PhD, Legislative Chair for the Florida PTA, who wrote an op-ed encouraging parents and guardians to tour the RALI CARES virtual trailer as we spend more time at home. The trailer is outfitted to look like a teenager's bedroom, but it is filled with hidden warning signs of substance misuse. Based on their years of experience, former law enforcement officers and experts point out the red flags of substance misuse and discuss ways to seek help when someone is struggling with addiction.
RALI Florida continues to work in partnership with community and statewide partners to provide resources to elevate the work being done in the communities. As we all spend more time at home, there’s so much we can be doing to educate ourselves on the safe use, storage and disposal of medications and how we can help curb this problem. It’s also so important that we remember our friends and family who may be in recovery, as this time of isolation has the potential to alter the course of recovery and interrupt treatment, creating a new addiction crisis within the public health crisis of COVID-19.
The reach of RALI Florida is impressive, and we’re excited to join this effort of statewide partners to find best practices to elevate the work we do. Stay tuned for more on a Facebook Live event hosted by the Florida Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs to help our Club parents and guardians identify the “red flags” of drug misuse in our homes. Our partnership with RALI Florida will elevate our work in this space and continue to help our Boys & Girls Club family with resources and tools to give our kids every opportunity for future success.