Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Coalition efforts in the news

As part of a community-wide plan to prevent underage drinking, coalition members have been working to get a local mini-mart's liquor license revoked because they have a long history of selling alcohol to minors. The Liquor Control Board recently sent the store owners a letter stating that their license would not be renewed and that they could appeal through a hearing in front of the State Office of Administrative Hearings. The owners asked for a hearing -- it is not unusual for such hearings to take a year or more to schedule.

Yesterday, KING5 and KOMO-TV picked up on the story.

Following are links to the letters from the Seattle Police Department and the Liquor Control Board regarding this matter.

March 31, 2009 Seattle Police Department letter to the Liquor Control Board

April 24, 2009 letter from the coalition to the Liquor Control Board

May 7, 2009 Seattle Police Department letter to the Liquor Control Board

July 17, 2009 Liquor Control Board letter to store owners

This is a good example of how a community can come together to make a difference. Dedicated people at the Seattle Police Department, Seattle City Attorney's Office, Washington State Liquor Control Board, and local media, especially KING5, have worked on this issue. Coalition members wrote letters in support of SPD's request. Together, these are the people to thank for bringing this problem to light and trying to prevent underage drinking by reducing youth access to alcohol.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Secure medicine return

Yesterday, I attended a meeting about the proposed Washington State Secure Medicine Return Bill that was introduced in the House and the Senate this year but did not make it to the floor for a vote. Advocates for this bill include substance abuse prevention advocates (who are concerned about prescription drug abuse), environmentalists (who are concerned with medicines being found in our water), and law enforcement (who are concerned about controlled substances).

Group Health and Bartell Drugs have implemented successful medicine return programs and the bill would expand medicine return programs statewide. The bill will be re-introduced in the upcoming session and it is expected that the pharmaceutical industry will, once again, launch a strong campaign in opposition.

Did you know . . . .

-- Over half of those using prescription drugs for non-medical reasons obtained them from a friend or relative.

-- One-third of all new abusers of prescription drugs in 2005 were 12-17 year olds.

A community workgroup led by the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute at the University of Washington recently unveiled its King County 2008 drug trends report. It found:

-- Drug related deaths involving prescription opiates totaled 153 in 2008, more than double the number of deaths from any other substance.

-- While the numbers are very low in northeast Seattle, in King County, 8% of tenth grade students reported using prescription opiates to get high in the past month according to the Healthy Youth Survey.