Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Preventing teen medicine abuse at the local level

The abuse of prescription drugs among NE Seattle teenagers increased steadily over the past few years.

Source: Washington State Healthy Youth Survey
During the 2012-13 school year, Prevention WINS members advocated for the King County Board of Health to adopt a countywide medicine return program.  It was adopted in June 2013 but is not yet up and running because pharmaceutical companies are suing to stop it.  The program will be one way to reduce the amount of unused prescription medicines in homes and therefore reduce youth access to them.

Prevention WINS members also promote the twice-yearly national Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.  The next one is Saturday, September 27 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m..  All Seattle Police Department precincts will accept unused medications.  Materials for promoting the day are available on the King County Take Back Your Meds website.

Since substance abuse prevention activities are most effective when multiple community sectors address specific local problems, coalitions can be especially important for reducing teen medicine abuse.  The following video tells the story of one community coalition that is using a variety of approaches, guided by local data, to prevent medicine abuse.

Prevention WINS will plan for additional prevention activities during the September 16 general meeting. Please contact coalition staff for more information.  

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