NEWARK – Randy White is a former McKean High and University of Maryland football star, seven-time first team All-Pro as a defensive tackle with the Dallas Cowboys, champion and co-MVP of Super Bowl XII and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
He is also a grandfather facing an unexpected burden following a family tragedy.
White’s son-in-law, a professional snowboarder in Colorado, was recovering from a knee injury when someone offered him a pain pill.
“He didn’t know anything about these fake pills that look just like the real thing,” White said. “He took one, it killed him. Dead. Now instead of being Paw-Paw, I’m Paw-Paw and Dad.”
White is now helping to raise two grandchildren, and he returned to Delaware on Wednesday to help the state kick off a new safe prescription drug disposal program.
Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long accompanied White, first to McKean and then to the Carpenter Center for the semifinals of the DIAA Girls Basketball Tournament. They were promoting and distributing DisposeRx, a small packet that can be used at home to quickly render any prescription drug safe to throw away.
“We’re handing out the kits, we’re raising awareness to parents, to loved ones,” Hall-Long said. “Be cognizant. What is in your medicine cabinet?
“Are there old pills? They don’t all have to be a narcotic or a pain pill. There are other medicines. Post-COVID we’ve seen an uptick, unfortunately, not only in our overdose deaths, our overdose non-fatalities, but also our suicides. So it’s very important.”
Up to 7,000 DisposeRx packets were to be handed out to fans leaving both the girls and boys basketball semifinal games on Wednesday and Thursday nights.
“It’s simple to use,” said Bill Simpson, president and CEO of DisposeRx. “You add this packet to your medicine bottle, you shake it up in water and in 10 to 30 seconds you create a gel that makes the medication stable enough to be thrown in the trash.”
Hall-Long said the program is being supported with a combination of federal, state, private and non-profit funding. The state hopes to distribute up to 50,000 packets this year, with another major push starting in the fall around the kickoff of the high school football season.
“We have enough for everybody that comes through the door if they want them,” Hall-Long said. “And then we’ll have many more across the state.”
White, perhaps the most famous football player in Delaware history, hopes to use his name recognition and personal story to reach people statewide.
“I was apprehensive of telling that story when I first told it. It was tough for me to tell it,” White said. “Now, I can get up and I can tell it. Because it gets people’s attention when they hear me say, ‘Hey, I have an 11-year-old grandson and I have a 4-year-old granddaughter that don’t have a dad, because he took one pill and died.’ … Until it affects you personally, some people don’t get it. We don’t want it to get to that.”
Contact Brad Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter: @BradMyersTNJ