Purdue Pharma, Project Lazarus and Safe Kids NC Partner to Improve Public Health Outcomes in North Carolina through the North Carolina Disposal Initiative

Initiative includes research to evaluate the impact of intervention on public health outcomes

STAMFORD, Conn. and RALEIGH, N.C., Apr. 5, 2017 – Purdue Pharma L.P., Project Lazarus and Safe Kids North Carolina, today announced a partnership to improve public health outcomes in North Carolina through the North Carolina Disposal Initiative (NCDI). The NCDI will support state-wide medicine disposal activities as well as conduct systematic research to evaluate the impact of community-based prevention programs on opioid-related overdoses, abuse and diversion.

“Medicine disposal is a community-based activity and needs to be examined from the community level,” said Fred Wells Brason II, President and Chief Executive Officer, Project Lazarus. “Working with Purdue Pharma and Safe Kids NC, we will continue our work to educate North Carolina communities about the need to properly dispose of medicines and provide the resources for the proper disposal.”

Through funding from Purdue Pharma, Project Lazarus will provide increased placement, availability and utilization of permanent medication drop-boxes at pharmacies, clinics and law enforcement locations. The NCDI initiative will provide 35 drop boxes, in addition to the 80 Project Lazarus has already provided. This will bring the total in NC to more than 350 medication drop boxes.

“I am happy to partner with Purdue Pharma and Project Lazarus to keep medicines and prescription drugs out of the wrong hands across North Carolina,” said Mike Causey, North Carolina Insurance Commissioner & State Fire Marshal. “Medications should always be locked out of reach of children, and when medicines are no longer needed, they should be disposed of in a safe way.”

The goal of the NCDI research is to better understand the potential of medicine disposal interventions, such as take-back events and permanent drop box facilities, the diversity of medicines collected and the impact of these interventions on public health.

Project Lazarus will also distribute funds to select community organizations involved in medicine take back initiatives, such as those associated with the NC Project Lazarus Coalitions, Safe Kids NC and Operation Medicine Drop, local health departments and police departments, to hold medicine take back events in April 2017, following the guidelines put forth by the state-run Operation Medicine Drop.

“Nearly 54 percent of people misusing pain relievers got them from a friend or relative.1 Purdue Pharma is committed to supporting and funding initiatives that aim to improve public health outcomes by reducing the amount of medicine available for misuse and diversion,” said Gail Cawkwell, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Medical Officer, Vice President, Medical Affairs, Purdue Pharma L.P. “We’re not walking away from this issue, and we believe if we work together with key stakeholders, we can start to make a difference.”

To learn more about the North Carolina Disposal Initiative and find local activities or medicine disposal bins, please visit https://www.projectlazarus.org/ncdi. 

ABOUT SAFE KIDS NORTH CAROLINA

Housed within the North Carolina Department of Insurance, Safe Kids NC works to prevent accidental injuries in children 19 and under through education and outreach. There are 45 Safe Kids coalitions covering 71 counties in North Carolina. Through these coalitions and partnerships, more than six million people have access to Safe Kids North Carolina programming. For more safety tips and information about Safe Kids North Carolina, visit www.ncsafekids.org.

ABOUT PROJECT LAZARUS

Project Lazarus is a non-profit organization established in 2007 in Wilkes County, N.C. with the goal to decrease opioid-related overdose deaths, promote and present appropriate care for pain patients, promote substance use treatment and support services and enhance engagement within the community. In response to extremely high overdose mortality rates in Wilkes County, Project Lazarus created a public health model, now known as the Project Lazarus Model, to achieve these goals. To learn more about education, training and technical assistance the organization provides, please visit www.projectlazarus.org.

ABOUT PURDUE PHARMA L.P.

Purdue Pharma is a privately-held pharmaceutical company and is part of a global network of independent associated companies known for pioneering research in chronic pain and opioids with abuse deterrent properties. The company’s leadership and employees are committed to providing healthcare professionals, patients and caregivers quality products and educational resources to support their proper use. With Purdue Pharma’s expertise in drug development, commercialization and life-cycle management, the company is diversifying in high-need areas to expand through strategic acquisitions and creative partnerships. For more information, please visit www.purduepharma.com.

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Media Inquiries:

Catherine London
Corporate Communications
Purdue Pharma L.P.
+1 203-588-7530
catherine.london@pharma.com

Colin Day
Department of Insurance (Safe Kids NC, Operation Medicine Drop)
Assistant Director of Public Information 
+1 919-807-6011 
colin.day@ncdoi.gov

1 Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2016). 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Rockville, MD. http://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015.pdf Table 6.56B. Accessed: 03/21/2017.

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