on the streets in 2011 as compared to 2010,
according to the Ohio Department of Alcohol
and Drug Addiction Services.
"The decrease in pills comes
in Scioto and Gallia counties,
ranked among the worst in the state
for prescription drug abuse.
"Residents in other counties wonder
if the state can also decrease the problem
in their county.
"Ohio Department of Alcohol
and Drug Addiction Services (ODADAS)
credits the decrease to several factors,
including actions taken by
Ohio's Drug Abuse Task force
and crackdowns on pill mills."
(Nadia Bashir, "Winning War on Prescription Drug Abuse, State Says,"
nbc4i.com/news, October 31 2011)
News and Video Link: http://www2.nbc4i.com/news/2011/oct/31/5/state-says-its-winning-war-prescription-drug-abuse-ar-810257/
I feel like quoting Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead's song "Truckin'":
"Lately it occurs to me: what a long, strange trip it's been."
But, then again, maybe the Dead (for some obvious reasons) is not the best allusion for a fight against drug abuse. The fight has definitely been "long" and "hard" taking members of the Scioto Rx Drug Task Force and its Action Team into numerous protests on the street; prayerful vigils; formations of support groups and Facebook groups; meetings with local, state, and federal officials and agencies; trips to the Ohio Statehouse and hearings with legislators; media coverage from from local, state, and national levels; sessions in courtrooms statewide; meetings and workshops at schools, colleges, and counseling centers: on and on.
We have met with the Federal Drug Czar, Governors, Senators, State Representatives, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy, DEA and law enforcement heads, clinical professors from universities, representatives from pharmaceutical companies, officers of the Appalachian Regional Commission, religious leaders, national talk show hosts, popular entertainers, counselors, and, of course, youth of all ages.
We have fought negative attitudes such as
1. "It's our right in a free society to sell drugs to anyone with a prescription."
2. "Alleviation of individuals' pain supersedes the deadly cost of high distribution."
3. "No one makes a person take a pill: addicts kill and maim themselves; doctors and pharmacies are not to blame."
4. "Nothing you can do will help the problem of drug addiction besides legalization."
5. "Keep religion out of the issue -- remember separation of Church and State."
6. "Closing pill mills will result in the undertreatment of legitimate pain."
7. "Just Say No is the only thing that works - money spent on drug education and behavior modification is wasted funds."
8. "To say there is an Rx Drug Health Emergency of epidemic proportions is gross overstatement."
9. "The children of good parents do not take drugs."
10. "Jobs and the economy deserve precedence over high rates of death and destruction caused by drug abuse."
11. "I don't see a prescription drug problem; after all, these drugs are legal and controlled by professionals."
12. "Pharmaceutical companies and state reporting agencies adequately control and stop all illegal rx drug distribution."
13. "Commerce, even in the face of public harm, must be protected and allowed to flourish."
14. "People are exposing drug abuse just 'to give the area a black eye.'"
In the last couple of years, the first steps were taken in the fight against prescriptions drug abuse:
1. The Action Team identified the problem and verified its extent in Scioto County.
2. The Action Team declared rx drug abuse a public health epidemic.
3. The Action Team realized and stressed the urgency of acting swiftly upon the problem.
4. The Action Team met and planned strategies with health officials, law enforcement, government agencies, churches, lawmakers, and the public to combat the problem.
5. The Action Team informed locals about the health epidemic and exposed the details to the nation through mass media and town hall settings.
6. The Action Team began a grass roots campaign to protest pill mills, distribute information, and recruit supporters.
7. The Action Team formed committees of support groups and individuals that addressed abuse issues such as prevention, intervention, jobs, crime, related health issues such as hepatitis, and rehab.
8. The Action Team networked with existing institutions, groups, and individuals to establish better communication and to promote better awareness of available area resources.
9. The Action Team received help from educational institutions, commissions, state boards, and government agencies to fight the problem.
10. The Action Team opened its membership to all those committed to saving lives and preventing rx drug dependency.
11. The Action Team lobbied and supported House Bill 93 that more strongly governs how clinics operate and closely monitors prescriptions and doctors while giving medical and pharmacy boards more authority.
12. The Action Team lobbied and supported a Pain Clinic Ordinance for the city of Portsmouth, Ohio.
13. The Action Team lobbied and supported a levy for drug abuse prevention in all county schools.
14. The SOLACE Organization Support Group received verbal commitments from 14 Ohio Counties to start a local chapter (Ashtabula and Pickaway Counties have groups already up and running.)