Raising awareness

A balloon and banner (above) stand at Champion Park during the 2nd annual Picnic for Progress hosted by the Austin Box “12” Foundation.

ENID, Okla. — The Austin Box #12 Foundation will host its annual Picnic for Progress and Prescription Drug Take-Back event 3-6 p.m. Saturday at Champion Park, 725 N. 9th.

The event will feature prizes, free food, giveaways, kids' activities and free T-shirts, while supplies last. Community nonprofit agencies will be present to share information on resources for those in need, and the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs will host a drug take-back event, at which people can turn in for safe disposal any unused or unneeded prescription drugs.

Gail Box, president of the Austin Box #12 Foundation, said Picnic for Progress is a fun, family friendly event that also serves an important purpose of connecting people in need with resources and reducing the availability in the community of prescription drugs that might be abused or misused.

"I want the people of Enid to understand the resources we have in Enid, for anyone in need for any type of services," Box said. "I also want the community to have fun and enjoy what we have to offer in Enid, especially Champion Park."

Box, who also serves on the board of Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, is well-known in Enid for her work in opioid abuse prevention advocacy. That work is driven by the untimely death of her son, Austin Box, who died of a prescription pain medication overdose on May 19, 2011.

She said Picnic for Progress is a good opportunity for "spring cleaning" of medicine cabinets to prevent drug abuse or accidental overdose, particularly with prescription pain medication.

"I would like for people to bring their prescription drugs they are no longer using, and those that are expired, to the event so they can do a little spring cleaning of their medicine cabinets," Box said, "and possibly prevent someone from being able to access medications that are not being used, particularly if they have any type of opioids or benzodiazepines they're not using."

Organizations scheduled to have booths at Picnic for Progress include: TSET Healthy Living Program, Oklahoma Health Care Authority, Sooner Success, Oklahoma Family Network, Making A Difference, Public Library of Enid and Garfield County, Enid Police Department, Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, Austin Box #12 Foundation, Head Start, Salvation Army, Garfield County Health Department, Great Salt Plains Health Center, St. Mary's Resilience Behavioral Health, American Red Cross, Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, National Alliance on Mental Illness and Gaslight Theatre.

For information on the Austin Box #12 Foundation, go to the group's page on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/AustinBox12Foundation/.

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Neal is health, military affairs and religion reporter and columnist for the Enid News & Eagle. Follow him on Twitter, @jamesnealwriter, and online at jamesrneal.com. He can be reached at jneal@enidnews.com.

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I am a retired Naval Officer and small business owner, outside of my work at the News & Eagle. My wife Tammy and I enjoy serving together at church and attending Gaslight and ESO. We have two daughters, three dogs and little free time.