Mason Prescription drug task force formed

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By Roberta M. Gubbins

Legal News

School started in Mason this week and Mason Prescription Drug Task Force announced on August 30th at Mason High School that it is ready to tackle the problem of prescription drug abuse by some young people in the Mason Community.

Hon. Donald Allen, Jr., 55th District Court Judge, made the announcement, explaining that reports reveal that prescription drugs are fast becoming the drug of choice among teens--one in five teens report using prescription medications to get high or to cope with stress or depression. And those drugs are found in their parent's bathroom.

"There are dangers in your medicine cabinet," Judge Allen said. "You may not know what is there, but your children do and their friends do. When you don't pay attention to the drugs located there, you do so at your peril."

"A baby-sitter, a stranger who uses your bathroom, your children or their friends can take the drugs that are there," he said. "Kids are at risk--they don't know the dangers of prescriptive drugs--they think if the pills are prescribed by a doctor they must be safe. Never-mind that they are not taking them as directed."

The Task Force, which began meeting in the fall of 2010, set as its goals to reduce the non-medical use of prescription drugs by Mason youth and to educate parents and stakeholders about prescription drug abuse and its prevention.

The members of the Task Force representing law enforcement, school administrators, the medical and pharmaceutical communities are available to talk to interested groups.

"There is a power point presentation available," Judge Allen said "and we can train more people" to spread the message. "We are willing to talk to as many groups as want to learn about the problem and its solution."

Mason Police Chief John Stressman explained that one issue is how to dispose of unused prescription drugs, which if flushed or thrown in the trash get in the water supply. Stressman noted "a program to help members of the community dispose of drugs in a safe manner is being developed."

The Task Force members realize that the problem is not exclusive to our youth and young adults. Access for abuse of prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications is increasing and must be addressed. As a beginning, it is the Task Force's intention to get their foot in the door and "influence and impact the most impressionable group and our greatest treasure--our youth--the future of every community."

The members of the Task Force include:

* Hon. Donald Allen, Jr. 55th District Court

* Principal Lance Delbridge, Mason High School

* Dr. Jeffrey DeWeerd, Allegiance Health Family Medicine

* Mark Dillingham, Superintendent, Mason Public Schools

* Martha Knorek, Recycling Coordinator, Ingham County Health Department

* Officer Robert Mentink, Mason Police Department

* Amy Moore, Prevention Coordinator, Ingham County Health Department

* Lieutenant B. J. Roach, Michigan State Police - Tri County Metro Narcotics

* Chief John Stressman, Mason Police Department

* Steve Ware, Ware's Pharmacy

* Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth, Ingham County Sheriff's Office

For more information, please contact any member of the Task Force.

Published: Thu, Sep 8, 2011

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