Raymond is a small New Hampshire town of about 10,000 inhabitants that is a typical New England town with its share of joys and problems. It does, however, have a very active children and youth activity program. And, when its leaders were in the process of ordering logo marketing items for their upcoming town fair and 250th anniversary celebration, they took issue with offerings of prescription medication bottles full of candy. Raymond Police and youth leadership held a news conference today to announce they have been successful in their efforts to have these items discontinued from the supplier's web site.
In the process of reviewing items to purchase for promotion and fund raising, Raymond Coalition for Youth (RCFY) leadership noticed the pill bottles on the web site from which they had routinely ordered their items. They were incensed at the thought of someone ordering these pill bottles containing candy and then passing them on to young people. Their concern was that these products are sending the wrong message to our youth at a time that drugs are such a local and national problem.
RCFY leadership including Raymond residents Pam Turcotte, Christene Bostaph, and Celeste Clark contacted the web-based business, Branders.Com, with their concerns. Branders is a large San Francisco based company that produces and markets a wide range of promotional products. It has operations in the USA, China, and the Philippines.
At first RCFY was met with relatively vague responses so they stepped up their email and telephone call and snail mail efforts and in a relatively short time Jerry McLaughlin, Branders CEO, personally called to discuss their concerns. Mr. McLaughlin listened to the RCFY concerns and promised to look into the items and see what he could do.
Mr. McLaughlin followed up on his promise and contacted every customer that had ordered the pill bottles of candy during the past two years to see what the purpose the bottles were intended to serve. Then, after evaluating facts and the RCFY concerns, he decided to remove the pill bottles and any other similar items from the company offerings.
At the news conference today RCFY Board of Directors Chair Christene Bostaph read a lengthy letter that had just been received from Mr. McLaughlin in which he praised RCFY for its actions and promised to help to spread the word nationally. Ms Bostaph also recognized and praised Celeste Clark, the RCFY Executive Director, for her concentrated efforts in bringing the issue to the forefront. Ms Bostaph showed a stack of letters of support for the cause from more than 50 companies across the country who had heard about the issue.
Raymond has taken a pro-active position on the illegal and prescription drug issue in other ways also. Within the past year its police department has installed a drug drop box at the entrance to its headquarters. According to Chief David Salois at today's news conference the drug drop box has constantly contained more drugs each time it is emptied since its installation. Anyone can drop any drugs into the box for disposal at any time with no questions asked.
The issue of illegal and prescription drug misuse even among children is one of our most troubling problems in American society. According to state political leaders and law enforcement officials, the vast majority of all crime today is in some way related to drugs. In the state of New Hampshire alone over 200 people, mostly younger, die each year from accidental drug overdose. On a personal note, my 21 year old daughter was one of those accidental overdose fatalities this year so this topic is especially meaningful to me.
Every bit we can do as individuals helps with the overall problem. The efforts of RCFY will not solve the problems but they have proved that when even a few of us take action on our desires to help, we can make a difference.