University of Charleston

Online Campaign and Coloring Contest to Help Families Understand the Importance of Medication Safety at Home


April 30—The West Virginia Drug Intervention Institute (WV DII), Inc. located at the University of Charleston has launched a medication safety initiative for families of young children. The Instiute is expanding it’s Don’t Keep Rex Around™ Medication Safety Program to help educate families of young children about the dangers prescription medications can pose in the home.

Using a live-action, real time-generated, cartoon avatar named Rex™ the program was orginally designed to teach children about medication safety. Insitute staff is usually busy delivering the program in pre-k and kindergarten classrooms across the state. However, with schools shuttered due to COVID-19, the WV DII is taking a new approach. Parents and children will have the opportunity to interact with Rex™ on Monday, May 11th at 3pm by visiting: for a brief, live stream presentation.

In addition, a coloring contest for students pre-K through second grade is open to children in all of West Virginia’s 55 counties through May 30, 2020. A coloring page on medication safety, designed to get parents and children talking about safe medication use, can be downloaded at: Directions and instructions can also be found on the site. Three entries will be randomly selected, and the winners will be announced on June 1, 2020 to kick off Healthy Kids Month (June). Prizes include a LIVE visit from Rex the Rx™ at the winners’ schools as well as digital media signage and a bicycle for each winning child.

“During this time of social distancing and stay at home orders, families are closer in proximity than ever before,” explained Dr. Susan Bissett, WV DII President. “Life is disrupted and medications may be more accessible to small children. We are taking this opportunity to educate families about medication safety and proper storage of medication.”

Data released by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse in April 2018 reported a 93% annual increase in unintentional prescription medication exposure among children 5 and younger. The report also indicated that 9 of 10 unintentional childhood poisonings occur at home. In addition, poison control centers receive an average of 32 calls a day for children exposed to opioids—60% of those calls are for children under 5 years of age. And, 48% of all pediatric medication exposures are from grandparents’ medications.

You can learn more about the program by visiting: