Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long joined NFL Hall of Famer, and Delaware native Randy White at the DIAA women’s high school basketball semi-finals on Wednesday to announce a new statewide initiative to curb prescription drug abuse in Delaware. The “Bench Opioids” initiative is a prevention and drug disposal blitz targeting opioid abuse and overdose deaths, especially among student-athletes.
“We are putting on a full-court press to stop prescription opioid abuse,” said Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long. “As chair of Delaware’s Behavioral Health Consortium, I have heard from far too many families who have an empty seat at their table due to an overdose. It’s critical we do all we can to educate Delaware students and families across our state about the dangers of unused prescription medication. Thanks to the work of Dispose Rx and our state partners, we are fighting back and saving lives.
Hall-Long and Randy White were also featured speakers during the halftimes of both games on Wednesday. For the first time publicly, White shared the story of the recent loss of his son-in-law due to a prescription drug overdose.
“Like thousands of other families across the United States, my family has been directly impacted by the opioid epidemic,” said White, former Dallas Cowboy and NFL Hall of Famer. “I am proud of the leadership of Lt. Governor Hall-Long and that my home state of Delaware will be the first in the nation to expand our Friday Night Lights Against Opioids efforts to basketball with the Bench Opioids initiative. I know all too well that just one pill can kill. This effort to educate communities about the dangers of taking pills you’re not prescribed and to dispose of unused drugs is crucial to saving lives.”
The initiative will feature public service announcements from sports legends, educational materials for students, and free drug disposal kits to promote the proper disposal of medication.
Recent data shows that about 70% of teens who misuse opioids get them from friends or relatives. Delaware currently ranks third in the country for drug overdose deaths. About 67% of those deaths were opioid-related.