Facing an Everyday Killer

NSC Prescribed to Death Memorial Visits D.C. April 12-18

One in four Americans has been directly impacted by the opioid crisis, but 40% still do not consider it to be a threat to their family, according to National Safety Council poll results.

In an attempt to end this persistent indifference, NSC launched the Prescribed to Death Memorial in November 2017. The Memorial, which includes a wall of 22,000 pills each carved with the image of someone who fatally overdosed in 2015, was on display in Washington, D.C.

As part of a partnership with the Executive Office of the President, the Department of the Interior and the National Parks Service, the Ellipse in President’s Park at the White House hosted the Memorial April 12-18. NSC President and CEO Deborah Hersman addressed the media and visitors April 11.

“Opioids have decimated communities across the country,” she said. “This is not a federal or state issue. This is not a red state or a blue state issue. This is a human crisis that knows no race, age or gender, and it demands bipartisan solutions and national leadership.”

Read her full remarks here.

The Memorial personalizes an issue President Donald Trump declared a public health emergency last fall.

"President Trump and his entire Administration are committed to combatting the opioid 'crisis next door' on all fronts and with every community across the nation. The decision to bring the memorial to Washington is part of President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump's efforts to raise awareness about the crisis and to make us each part of solution," said Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the President.

In addition to the wall of 22,000 pills, the memorial includes resources to help visitors safely dispose of unused pills in their homes and facilitate discussions with prescribers about alternatives to opioids.

  • Guests receive first-of-their-kind "Opioids: Warn Me" labels to affix to their insurance cards, empowering them to engage in a dialogue with prescribers about the risks of taking opioids and whether other pain relief options are appropriate
  • Stericycle, a Chicago-based waste disposal company, has partnered with the Council to provide pre-paid mail envelopes to help visitors easily get rid of unused medications
  • "This crisis is affecting our coworkers, friends and family members," Hersman said. "We appreciate that the Administration is shining a national spotlight on this everyday killer, and we know that coordination and commitment from all stakeholders will be needed to solve this epidemic."

    Washington, D.C. was the third stop on the Prescribed to Death nationwide tour. After launching in Chicago last November, the memorial stopped in Pittsburgh in January and was displayed at the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in Atlanta April 2-5. The Council also is planning a stop in Ohio.

    Visit stopeverydaykillers.org for more information.

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