Lockboxes for pharmaceuticals distributed to families
KENT — Nick Pohl, director of the Housatonic Youth Service Bureau (HYSB), made a delivery of 32 prescription drug lockboxes to the Kent Community Nursery School on the morning of Wednesday, Feb. 16, as part of the nonprofit group’s new Lockbox Initiative.
The program provides lockboxes where prescription and over-the-counter drugs may be safely stored — and kept away from children and teens.
The Youth Service Bureau purchased 250 lockboxes with a grant from the Foundation for Community Health in Sharon, and hopes to distribute all of them by June.
“We wanted to spend the grant in a way that would get some use and be helpful to households,” Pohl said.
The idea for using the grant money to purchase lockboxes was inspired by Pohl’s experiences working in a foster care agency. His agency would select and train foster parents and serve as case managers for the foster children.
Each family he worked with was required to have a lockbox for drugs in their home, Pohl said.
Kent Community Nursery School Director Sue Vizzari heard about the program at a meeting that took place at HYSB’s headquarters and brought the idea to the school’s board.
Each of the 32 lockboxes was requested by a parent or grandparent of a student.
“We were very enthusiastic about bringing it to parents as an option,” said Nursery School Board President Mary Emerich, who is a former teacher at the school.
The Kent Community Nursery School wasn’t the only school interested in the program. Pohl delivered eight of the lockboxes to the Sharon Day Care Center on Feb. 17 and 25 lockboxes to the Canaan Child Care Center on Feb. 23.
Not all 250 of the lockboxes have been claimed yet, and anyone may call HYSB to order one. Lockboxes may be picked up at the Youth Service Bureau office on Warren Turnpike Road, in the white house that is also home to the Region One Pupil Services office.
A staff member can also deliver the lockboxes if necessary.
The lockboxes have three purposes: to limit access to drugs, to raise awareness of where drugs are being stored and to provide education about the dangers of prescription drugs in the wrong hands.
As part of the lockbox delivery on Feb. 16, Pohl took a half hour to sit down with four Kent Community Nursery School students and explain why having a lockbox for drugs in their homes is important.
When asked why it was important to keep prescription drugs away from babies, student Quinn Rider replied that, “They might take it when they’re not sick — and then they’d get sick.”
“Prescripton medication misuse is on the increase, and we hope this initiative does something about it,” Pohl said.
Each lockbox comes with pamphlets detailing the dangers of abusing prescription and over-the-counter drugs and other information of interest to parents and children.
To ask a question or place an order for a lockbox, call the Housatonic Youth Service Bureau at 860-824-4720.