Four Cities Win Grants For Outstanding Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Initiatives

Winners Recognized at 81st Winter Meeting in Washington, DC

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) announced the winners of the 2013 Safeguard My Meds Prescription Drug Abuse Recognition Program, during the 81st Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C.  Awards were given to outstanding local initiatives that have the greatest potential to reduce the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs, particularly among young people.

Grants were made to Mayoral-based initiatives in four cities:

  • Asheville, NC
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Madison, WI
  • New Bedford, MA

The grant program is the latest initiative in a four-year partnership between USCM and Purdue Pharma, L.P., with the goal supporting and/or enhancing existing prescription drug abuse prevention programs in America’s cities, as well as encouraging the development of new and innovative programs.  The successful USCM/Purdue Pharma partnership began in 2009 with a nationwide public awareness campaign, featuring Mayoral PSAs on the dangers of prescription drug abuse, and offering simple steps parents can take to protect their children by properly storing and disposing of medication in the home.  To date, Mayors have recorded more than 200 radio and television PSAs, which have reached an audience of millions in cities across the country.

“I am proud to be a part of this important partnership with Purdue Pharma,” said Tom Cochran, U.S. Conference of Mayors CEO and Executive Director.  “Together, The Conference of Mayors and Purdue Pharma have taken a national leadership role in the fight against prescription drug abuse, particularly among our young people, and these awards are an important step in supporting the efforts of mayors on the ground, at the local level.”

Grant awards were divided into two categories: small city (those with populations of less than 100,000) and large city (those with populations of 100,000 or more).  First and second place awards were given in both categories.  An independent panel of judges evaluated the applications based on innovation, creativity, mayoral involvement and potential impact.

”We congratulate the mayors who have won this year’s award and applaud the efforts of all the mayors who participated throughout the years in the USCM Safeguard My Meds public education campaign,” said Pamela Bennett, RN, BSN, Executive Director of Healthcare Alliance Development at Purdue Pharma.  “USCM has been a valuable partner in helping to educate the public about the importance of safe storage and disposal of medication, and we look forward to our continued partnership.”


For more information, please see a listing of program descriptions for the winning cities below.


The United States Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are more than 1,200 such cities in the country today, and each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor. Find us online at,, or follow us on Twitter at

Purdue Pharma L.P. , a privately held pharmaceutical company founded by physicians, is focused on meeting the needs of healthcare providers and the patients in their care. We are known for our pioneering research on pain, a principal cause of human suffering.  For more information about Purdue’s programs and partnerships to combat prescription drug abuse, visit   


Small City

1st Place ($10,000):     New Bedford, MA, Mayor Jon Mitchell: “Pathways Opiate Overdose Coalition”


The Pathways Coalition, under the leadership of Mayor Jon Mitchell, will utilize a team of young people aged 14‐24 as peer educators, to provide education and training to the community about prescription drug safety, in line with the guidelines set out by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). The program will provide a minimum of 12 presentations/appearances throughout the community, as well as a social marketing campaign that will utilize various electronic media outlets and web presence to promote the prescription safety program and reach all families in New Bedford with the message.


“Educating youth about the dangers of prescription drug misuse and abuse is critical to our efforts to combat substance abuse and the illicit drug trade in our community.  In New Bedford, public health officials, drug treatment providers, and law enforcement remain committed to working together to address this public health challenge.  One key feature of this program is that it engages and educates young people to teach their peers and empowers youth to become leaders who can help solve their own problems. I’m pleased that the United States Conference of Mayors and Purdue Pharma have recognized this program and I look forward to it serving as a model for other cities across the country.”

– New Bedford, MA Mayor Jon Mitchell

2nd Place ($5,000):       Asheville, NC, Mayor Terry Bellamy: “Partnership for Substance Free Buncombe County”

The Partnership for Substance Free Youth Buncombe County  has partnered with Ingles, a chain of grocery stores with more than 200 locations in the southeastern United States, to purchase and distribute over 10,000 special bright yellow “Drop Off Your Drugs” bags, and made them available on checkout counters at all Buncombe County Ingles stores. The program works as follows: customers and local residents pick-up a free yellow bag, fill it with prescription pills they no longer use, and return it to one of a number of drop-off stations around the county.

“We are grateful to be selected as an award recipient for the USCM/Purdue Pharma Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness grants.  We are proud to be a member of the nationally recognized Partnership for Substance Free Youth in Buncombe, and we look forward to continuing the collaborative efforts and in community education toward our goal of realizing a Drug Free Buncombe County.  These funds will enhance the outreach and education within our community in highlighting the dangers associated with the abuse of prescription drugs.”

 – Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy

Large City

1st Place ($10,000):     Madison, WI Mayor Paul Soglin: “Stop the Overdose Epidemic”

The primary objective of the “Stop the Overdose Epidemic” initiative is to measurably reduce drug-related death and hospitalization. Because the prescription drug abuse/misuse problem touches every population group, customized prevention messages will be developed for youth and a variety of other target populations, including people of all ages prescribed opiates for acute or chronic pain;  clinicians and dentists who prescribe opiates, substance abuse treatment providers, people in recovery and their families, on navigating treatment options; first responders and addicts regarding utilization of rescue doses of naloxone; judicial and law enforcement communities on programs that reduce attendant crime while treating addiction (e.g. drug court); and the general public on safe use, storage and disposal of all medicines.

“This funding will help us continue our work to educate  the community on the dangers of prescription drug  abuse.  We have a coalition of health care providers, public health nurses, police, social workers and others working together on this very important issue.  This additional funding will help save lives.”

– Madison, WI Mayor Paul Soglin


2nd Place ($5,000):       Baltimore, MD, Mayor Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake:

“LIVE RIGHT DO RIGHT Substance Abuse Prevention Education”

The “Live Right Do Right Program” is a substance abuse prevention education program for adolescents and teenagers.  The program is designed to educate and empower youth to make informed decisions, based on an evidence-based curriculum which promotes healthy alternatives to risky behavior. The curriculum provides students with life skills training techniques , as well as support and family counseling when needed.  After completion of the course student participants will be paired with a qualified mentor for a period of one year.

“We are grateful to the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Purdue Pharma for recognizing the work of the Mario Do Right Foundation’s effort to educate young people about the dangers of prescription drug abuse. Their partnership provides vital outreach and assistance to young people and families in our communities.”

– Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake