Effort to combat opioid epidemic hits close to home in Franklin County

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"I’ve had staff members who have friends who have spouses or family members that have died. There’s a woman that I worked with for a long time whose son died of an overdose. It hits home,” said Karen Johnston, executive director of Healthy Communities Partnership.

And sometimes, it hits closer than you may think, which is why HCP is teaming up with realtors to do their part in combating the opioid epidemic.

“When people are selling houses, a lot of time they think of staging the house. Let’s put this chair over here or this lamp over here, or what can we do to make this house look good? But they don’t think about what’s behind closed doors," said Johnston.

Johnston says across the state, there have been numerous cases of people stealing drugs from homes for sale— either during showings or open houses.

And it’s something Pete Peterson, real estate agent for Coldwell Banker and former Chambersburg Police Officer, says he’s seen as well.

“Drugs have always been an issue for realtors or home care nursing or anyone who has or is going to have people in their home,” said Peterson.

It’s hasn’t been an issue in Franklin County yet, and Johnston hopes to keep it that way.

They’ve created these flyers for realtors to pass out to their clients, outlining a step-by-step guide on protecting your meds, and in turn, your community.

Peterson says these are steps he already practices in his everyday routine.

“Out of sight, out of mind. Put those drugs in a safe place and hide them until the showing is over,” said Peterson.

And to Johnston, it’s a no brainer.

“Our jewelry is valuable, our money’s valuable, just things we need to think about not putting out there for the community to be tempted to have access to,” said Johnston.

Johnston says this also serves as a good reminder to drop off any unwanted, unused, or expired medication to a medication drop box.

They can usually be found in the lobby of your local police department.

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