“Be courageous. Lead with passion. Respond with innovation. Demonstrate compassion,” said Lynne Fruth, president and chairman of the Board of Fruth Pharmacy, and NACDS Board of Directors member, at the 2018 NACDS Regional Chain Conference. Fruth provided insights on her company’s efforts to collaborate for drug-abuse solutions.
Lynne Fruth has a solid answer to one of the toughest questions of our time.
“Be courageous. Lead with passion. Respond with innovation. Demonstrate compassion,” the president and chairman of the Board of Fruth Pharmacy, and NACDS Board of Directors member, told 2018 NACDS Regional Chain Conference attendees.
That summarizes Fruth’s answer to the question, “What can one company do to make an impact on the drug epidemic in the local community?”
Behind that summary is a series of actions over the course of years, which Fruth outlined for attendees at NACDS’ conference for chains operating between four and 250 stores, and supplier partners. The event was held February 4-6.
“To put the drug problem and its expanding reach into perspective, I routinely see young men in the program who were childhood friends and classmates of my own children.”
One of the dominant themes of Fruth’s efforts – and her presentation – is the essential role of community-based collaboration to help confront drug abuse. She knows with whom to partner to help make a difference, and she is either on a first-name basis with them or will be soon.
On methamphetamine and opioid abuse issues, she references collaborative efforts with federal, state and local legislators and executive branch officials; drug abuse prevention and rehabilitation experts; public health authorities; law enforcement; first responders; other chains; manufacturers; national and local media; universities; and foundations, among others.
During her presentation, she summarized her company’s engagement since 2013 in several initiatives, including, but certainly not limited to:
- steps to foster the use of tamper-resistant pseudoephedrine to prevent methamphetamine production;
- creation of the Bridge of Hope Fund, which already has raised $140,000 for scholarships to assist those in rehabilitation with their education and with their return to employment;
- participation in research programs to help address the risk to babies of pregnant women with opioid addiction;
- fostering the availability of naloxone for opioid overdose reversal;
- pharmacist training;
- government advocacy on drug abuse issues;
- engagement in media interviews to raise awareness of opioid abuse.
Fruth’s personal connection to her company’s work with community partners and those in need is evident as she discusses various programs.
In her presentation at the NACDS Regional Chain Conference, she described naloxone training this way: “Training alongside law enforcement, and loved ones of addicts, gave our pharmacists a different perspective on this life-saving drug.”
In discussing her company’s scholarship program, she noted that the initiative often hits close to home. “To put the drug problem and its expanding reach into perspective, I routinely see young men in the program who were childhood friends and classmates of my own children,” she said.
In addition to the personal connection, Fruth finds inspiration from other leaders throughout time.
“I take some creative license with this quote from Edmund Burke, but this quote sums up my drive to do something to make an impact,” Fruth said. “‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good women to do nothing.’”
One thing is for sure after listening to Fruth, doing nothing was never an option.