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Metro Newsroom

LMPD Addresses Illegal Prescription Drug Abuse

Tuesday May 6, 2008

Mayor Jerry Abramson and Chief Robert White today announced a new campaign to combat prescription drug abuse. Officers are warning citizens about the rising number of teenagers using prescription drugs and will offer tips on proper storage and use. Attorney General Jack Conway and Brad Hall of the Kentucky Pharmaceutical Association are joining the city's effort to prevent prescription drug abuse as part of this month's Keep Louisville Safe campaign.

"Prescription drugs serve a legitimate medical purpose," Abramson said. "But a patient can ignore the doctor's guidelines for safe use or may even begin hoarding the drugs to sell. In some situations, other family members could steal those medications for personal use."

Teenagers are especially at risk for abusing precription drugs - often because they are easily accessible in the home. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, overall teen drug use is dropping nationwide, but more teens are turning to illegal prescription drugs more than any other drug, except marijuana.

More than half of the people who use prescription drugs for non-medical purposes received the drugs from a friend or family member. Nationally and locally, hydrocodone is the prescription medication most often abused by teens and adults alike.

"So many people think that because something is prescribed by a doctor, then it's safe to use," said White. "Painkillers and sedatives are often a gateway that can lead to more serious drug abuse in the years to come."

Each year, Louisville Metro Solid Waste Management teams up with several local agencies to sponsor a drug toss. Six drug toss events will be held at various locations, May 20 - 22. Residents are encouraged to bring in expired prescription drugs, unsealed cough syrups, eye drops, nose sprays, ointments and all bulk or loose pills and capsules. More information on the drug toss events can be found at Click on the Garbage and Recycling link.

"We appreciate our campaign partners for their help in organizing these drug toss events," Abramson said. "We don't want old or unused medications to go into our water supply or landfill and keeping them at home isn't a safe option either. The drug toss is an easy, safe way to properly dispose of medications your family no longer needs."

The Keep Louisville Safe campaign is entering its second year providing public awareness and safety to residents of Louisville Metro. Prior topics have included methamphetamine, prevention of elder abuse and domestic violence and the interactive crime map, Metrowatch. Future topics for Keep Louisville Safe include internet predator prevention, copper theft and the proper use of 9-1-1.

Representatives from Louisville Metro Police and Louisville Metro Solid Waste will be on hand to make sure the products will be disposed of safely. Residents are urged to black out all personal information on the pharmaceutical containers.

Here are the dates and locations for
the six Drug Toss events:

Tuesday, May 20
St. Denis Church
9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
4205 Cane Run Road

Tuesday, May 20
Franciscan Health Care Center
1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
3625 Fern Valley Road

Wednesday, May 21
Christopher East
9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
4200 Browns Lane

Wednesday, May 21
The Forum at Brookside
1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
200 Brookside Drive (Off Shelbyville Road across from Douglass Hills)

Thursday, May 22
Christian Care Communities
9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
960 South 4th Street

Thursday, May 22
Sun Valley Community Center
1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
6505 Bethany Lane