Mary Perkins Selected for Governor's Volunteer Service Award
This article was originally published on April 23, 2012 and expired on July 1, 2012. It is provided here for archival purposes and may contain dated information.
An Effingham County 4-H member was selected as the youth recipient of this year's Governor's Volunteer Service Award for the East Central region of Illinois. Mary Perkins, 16, of Effingham, was selected for her work with the Effingham County Youth Ambassadors P2D2 prescription pill and drug disposal program.
Perkins is a 9-year member of the Lit'l Bit Country 4-H Club and a member of the Effingham County Youth Ambassadors (ECYA), the high school youth leadership club for Effingham County 4-H members. Perkins headed a committee which designed the P2D2 program, including the writing of a grant to cover the cost of purchasing secure, metal boxes as well as other expenses of the program. The cost of each box exceeds $500.
The project began in the summer of 2011, and to date, more than 750 pounds of unused prescription medication have been collected.
"'Skittle parties' were becoming a trend in our community," said Patti Logan, University of Illinois Extension 4-H program coordinator. "At these parties, youth would dump any unused prescription medication they could find in a bowl, and then consume a handful of pills with alcohol.
"The P2D2 program is making it more difficult for youth to find the unused medication," Logan said.
The problem of unused medication also extends to the water supply, said Michelle Loy, volunteer leader of ECYA. Traces of painkillers, estrogen, antidepressants, blood-pressure medicines, and other medications have been found in water samples from 30 states, Loy said.
Public response to the program has been overwhelming, Loy said. Perkins and her team partnered with the county Sheriff's Department and local schools' School Resource Officers. The program was also supported through newspaper, radio and TV releases.
Most pharmacies in Effingham now have a P2D2 drop box at their locations. Sheriff employees must empty local containers about every two days in order to keep up with demand. As the need continues to grow, Perkins and her ECYA 4-H team are looking for additional funding for the program.
Perkins was honored with other recipients at an awards program in Springfield on April 19. Mary Perkins is a junior at Effingham High School.
Source: Judy Mae Bingman, Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development, email@example.com
Pull date: July 1, 2012