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Parents express concern over kids bringing home pill bottles with candy

Some parents of middle school students are upset after their kids came home with empty pill bottles from a career fair. Several parents found these pill bottles last week. They had no idea what was in them before they were emptied.

A real pill container, with a realistic label that reads UnityPoint Health – eat as needed for sweet success.

Shannah Girard says when she saw her 14-year-old son with the bottle, she freaked out. “Oh my god why and what was in it. And nothing was in it. And my heart sank. And where did you get it. And out of everything to see unity point health on it? Kids shouldn’t be getting candy put in pill bottles.”

Her 8th grader at Central Middle School got it from ‘Career Spark’ – a career fair for are middle schools in Peoria last week. “This is about the age 14-15 when they start experimenting with drugs anyway,” she explained with concern.

She says unity point health was trying to teach kids about filling prescriptions. As a reward for the activity they gave away pill bottles full of Skittles.

Angie Sutton felt the same way when her 13 year old came home. She saw his tote bag from the event and searched through it finding one empty pill bottle, and then another filled with candy. “It scared me at first. I had a feeling like oh my gosh is he getting something at school. Is he taking something from someone he shouldn’t.”

Both parents worry kids that age aren’t mature enough to joke about drugs. “These kids are so impressionable right now. They look at things around them and the things that are cool and not cool and what everyone else is doing,” explained Sutton. But it’s not just the peer pressure. Sutton added, “It kind of glorified to me, hey here’s pill bottles and here’s pills inside them. Here you go have fun.”

And she says once she saw the UnityPoint label, she calmed down. “I don’t think they meant to hurt anyone or disrespect anyone or upset anyone. But at the same time i don’t think they looked at the big picture of what’s happening around us in our community.”

Even with innocent intentions, these parents don’t appreciate making pill popping look fun.

We called and texted unity point representatives multiple times today for an interview. Regional Marketing Director Brian responded with this statement:

“At UnityPoint Health, we take great pride and responsibility in educating thousands of young people in Central Illinois about wonderful careers in healthcare. Our activities in partnership with Career Spark are often fun, hands-on learning opportunities that simulate real-world activities healthcare professionals get to do every day. We value community feedback to ensure these activities deliver positive experiences as we work to help young people realize their future potential.”

Kyle Beachy

Kyle Beachy is a Multimedia Journalist for 25 News and Heart of Illinois. Born and raised in Kokomo, Indiana, he attended Indiana Wesleyan University where he studied Education and played baseball. He comes to us from Columbus, Ohio where he received a Master’s Degree from The Ohio State University.

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