From the community: Naperville Police and Fire Team with KidsMatter to Keep Prescription Drugs out to the Wrong Hands November Social Media Campaign to Build Awareness of Proper Disposal

By Community Contributor Deb Newman

The statistics are frightening. Drug overdoses are the leading cause of injury death in the United States- 120 people die every day in this country. One in four teens misuse or abuse prescription drugs. Four out of five heroin users started with prescription drugs. “In 2016 Naperville had 37 overdoses and five deaths. So far this year we’ve had 56 overdoses and 12 Narcan saves,” says Naperville Police Chief Bob Marshall. “Prescription drugs are a gateway. More and more young people are becoming addicted to prescription drugs, and once they can’t get them anymore, they turn to cocaine and heroin. Parents need to secure their medications and clean out the unused ones to stop this cycle.”

That’s the reason KidsMatter has teamed with the City, the Police Department and the Fire Department to send the message. Naperville is on a mission to get addictive prescription and over-the-counter drugs out of homes, off the streets and into safe-keeping. In the month of November KidsMatter will launch a social media campaign featuring local community leaders, youth leaders and a few Naperville famous alums will be launched challenging “Don’t be an Accidental Drug Dealer,” and featuring the hashtag #ImNotAreYou.

“The issue of drug abuse and addiction continues to be a very real concern in our community. Not only does it affect the health and safety of our residents and particularly our young people, but it creates other crime problems including retail theft, car break-ins, robberies, drug dealing and more,” Mayor Steve Chirico says. “The City is committed to helping find deterrents, including equipping our first responders with Narcan and ensuring that we help residents keep potentially addictive drugs out of circulation in our community.”

In Naperville, unused prescription and over-the-counter drugs including opioid pain killers, ADD medications, anti-anxiety, allergy, cold and cough medications can be disposed of securely in Prescription Drug Drop Boxes outside of all Naperville Fire Stations 24/7, as well as in the lobby of the Police Department Headquarters on Aurora Avenue. At home, drugs should be monitored and secured in a locked location.

IdaLynn Wenhold, Executive Director of KidsMatter, says the organization’s commitment to this initiative stems from a desire to empower parents to help kids make better choices. “Prescription drug abuse is robbing us of our kids, and it’s affecting younger middle schoolers of 12 and 13. They don’t sense the danger or the long term ramifications- that experimenting can lead to addiction and harder drugs. 90% of addiction starts in the teen years. We are committed to helping families and residents attack the root of the problem. We can work with addicts, but we need to help parents help kids before they open the door to addiction.”

The hashtag campaign will be launched from KidsMatter’s facebook, instagram and twitter feeds. “It truly does take a village to keep our kids safe.We encourage everyone in the community to connect with us and share our posts throughout the month.” says Wenhold. “By including the link to our landing page, everyone can be part of the solution to educate our community on the dangers of improperly storing and disposing of drugs and this very simple solution to dispose of drugs safely.” For more information visit