MEIGS COUNTY — Thursday, Oct. 1 marks the first day of Medicine Abuse Awareness Month. In order to bring attention to this importance of this month, the Meigs County Community Prevention Coalition, Health Recovery Services, and the Gallia-Jackson-Meigs Board of Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services are working together.
During their 10 a.m. meeting the Meigs County Commissioners will also sign a resolution declaring October “Meigs County Medicine Abuse Awareness Month,” which is the beginning of awareness events that will take place throughout the month of October.
According to statistics provided by Health Recovery Services, at least 25 Meigs County residents have died as a result of unintentional drug overdose throughout a ten-year period from 2000 to 2010. In 2011 a reported 85.3 prescription opioid doses in Meigs County were dispensed per person. On a larger level, according to Health Recovery Services, the state average in 2011 was 66.7 doses, with Ohio deaths from accidental drug overdose increasing by 485 percent from 1999 to 2012. Data also shows that from 2006 to 2009 Ohio prescription painkiller deaths had a higher number than deaths related to cocaine and heroin combined.
The Meigs County Community Prevention Coalition meets regularly to formulate community strategies to reduce, prevent, and treat medicine abuse and other alcohol/drug abuse through education, community engagement, and local policy changes. The group, chaired by Meigs County Juvenile Court Judge Scott Powell, is made up of community representatives from education, law enforcement, courts, social services agencies, treatment and prevention agencies, county and local government and other entities. The Coalition plans to distribute prescription drug abuse prevention materials through area pharmacies beginning later in October. They also plan to coordinate Red Ribbon Week drug awareness programs in area schools and distribute drug abuse prevention materials at community events.
The month’s events are part of National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month, observed annually in October. The Meigs County Community Prevention Coalition is one of hundreds across the country holding similar events. The national campaign, sponsored by Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), aims to educate parents and youth of the potential dangers associated with prescription and OTC medicine abuse.
Meigs County Commissioner Randy Smith said the spread of information is an absolute necessity when it comes to medicine abuse.
“We can’t fail to educate ourselves on the impact prescription drugs have on our communities,” he said. “Only when we look past the stigma of addiction will we be able to see the disease for what it is and come together to fight it.”
Reach Lindsay Kriz at 740-992-2155 EXT. 2555.