CHICAGO — Walgreens announced that its national “#ItEndsWithUs” campaign is coming to Chicago to educate local teens on the opioid epidemic. As part of WE Day Illinois at The Allstate Arena in Rosemont, 15,000 youth will hear real stories of addiction and how Walgreens is working to combat the nation’s opioid epidemic. The #ItEndsWithUs campaign objective is to provide teens with resources and positive steps they can take in their community, which are available at the #ItEndsWithUs hub at www.walgreens.com/itendswithus.
The campaign will feature actor Brandon Larracuente from the popular Netflix series, “13 Reasons Why” and “Bloodline.” Larracuente, who lost a close friend to opioid addiction, will speak via video message to introduce the #ItEndsWithUs campaign. Larracuente will also introduce Becky Savage, a local mother who had two sons die from opioid overdose in the same night. Savage is now working with Walgreens to educate teens on the risks of opioids.
“I believe there’s power in knowledge and that we can make a difference by talking about opioid misuse and abuse,” said Savage. “If my sons understood the risk of opioid overdose, I’m sure they would have made a different choice that night. I hope to raise more awareness through the #ItEndsWithUs campaign.”
Savage will speak about Walgreens safe medication disposal program that began in 2016. Walgreens safe medication disposal kiosks allow individuals to safely and conveniently dispose of their unwanted, unused or expired prescriptions, including controlled substances and over-the-counter medications, year-round at no cost. Safe medication disposal kiosks are available in select Walgreens pharmacies throughout Illinois during regular pharmacy hours. Most people who misuse prescription drugs first obtain them from a family member or friend, often from a home medicine cabinet.
The #ItEndsWithUs campaign was introduced as another platform to further Walgreens efforts to help combat the national opioid crisis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), overdose deaths among 15-to-19-year-olds spiked more than 19 percent between 2014 and 2015. The CDC also found that nearly half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid.
Of the 2,278 Illinois statewide drug overdose deaths during 2016, over 80% (1,826) were opioid-related fatalities.1 Walgreens will continue to raise awareness around the opioid epidemic at upcoming WE Day events in 2018, engaging teens across the country with the help of Larracuente.
As part of its comprehensive national plan to combat drug abuse, Walgreens has made naloxone, a lifesaving opioid overdose antidote, available without requiring a prescription in Walgreens pharmacies in Illinois. Naloxone can be used in the event of an overdose to reverse the effects of heroin or other opioid drugs, and is administered by injection or nasal spray.
Walgreens has also installed safe medication disposal kiosks in 600 of its pharmacies across 45 states and is in the process of expanding its program to an additional 900 Walgreens across the country. When the expansion is complete, safe medication disposal kiosks will be available in 1,500 Walgreens nationwide, including 80 locations throughout Illinois.
Following WE Day Illinois, Walgreens will continue to create awareness on the opioid epidemic at its final WE Day event in Seattle on May 3, 2018. This event follows the campaign’s previous stops at WE Day California in Los Angeles, WE Day Texas in Dallas and launch at WE Day UN in New York City in September 2017.