The Community Prevention Partners (CPP) of Santa Cruz County, in partnership with Aptos High School, invite community members, parents, students, school administrators and health professionals to attend a Community Town Hall Event on Prescription Drug Abuse and Misuse to kick off National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month in October. The Town Hall will be held at Aptos High School’s Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, September 24th from 6 – 8 pm. “Simultaneous translation” devices will be available for Spanish-speaking attendees and free childcare will be offered.
While the 1980s had a crack epidemic, and the 1990s saw a surge in designer drug use, today’s epidemic is prescription drug abuse. In fact, did you know that one in five young adults has abused a prescription drug? Contrary to common opinion, according to the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), over 70% of people who abused prescription pain relievers got them from friends or relatives, while approximately 5% got them from a drug dealer or from the Internet. Startling statistics are painting a clear and disturbing picture.
According to the 2012 National Partnership Attitude Tracking Study, one in four teens has misused or abused a prescription (Rx) drug at least once in their lifetime – a dramatic 33 percent increase over the past five years. The latest statistics, show that each day 2,500 teens, ages 12 to 17, abuse a pain reliever for the first time. The National Institute for Drug Abuse [NIDA] has information that the stimulant Adderall and the pain reliever Vicodin are among the most commonly abused by teenagers. Teens take these drugs for various reasons - some do it to get high, others to treat pain and some want to lose weight, according to NIDA.
The award-winning documentary, “Behind the Orange Curtain,” will be shown, it is a full-length feature documentary produced by Natalie Costa and directed by Brent Huff. The film delves deep into the prescription drug problem afflicting affluent Orange County, California. The founder and President of the National Coalition of Prescription Drug Abuse (NCPDA) April Rovero, is the keynote speaker for the event and will be sharing her story as a parent who lost her son to an accidental overdose in 2009.
A panel of experts, including local Deputy Nick Baldridge, will share what the issue looks like here in Santa Cruz County. Deputy Baldridge believes that most parents are oblivious to the extent of the issue. His hope is to inform parents so they can be proactive in their kid’s lives. Baldridge notes that “some parents just think it is a phase – but the reality is that opiate use is not a normal phase that kids go through.” His experience has shown that parents that don’t pay attention to their teen’s behavior or will not admit that their kids have a problem can and do end up witnessing overdoses and sometimes even death.Participants will gain information about the risks and consequences associated with prescription drug misuse and abuse, have a better understanding of the warning signs of abuse, and learn how to properly monitor, secure and dispose of medications. The Community Prevention Partners “hope that parents lock up their medications at home to prevent the issue from starting from their own medicine cabinets, and that all attendees share what they have learned with other family members and their friends to raise awareness around the community.”