The McCreary County Record

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January 25, 2011

Are you an ‘Accidental Dealer’?

Operation UNITE launches prescription awareness campaign

WHITLEY CITY —  A University of Kentucky study has shown rural teenagers in Kentucky are 26 percent more likely to abuse prescription drugs than those living in urban areas.

    The study — spearheaded by epidemiology professor Dr. Jennifer Havens — looked at data from 17,872 participants ages 12 to 17 in the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Indicating that 13 percent of rural teens have used prescription drugs recreationally, it showed those teens are getting pills from medicine cabinets in their home.

    That finding has prompted Operation UNITE to launch the Accidental Drug Dealer Community Campaign, a three-month program designed to inform communities about prescription drug abuse through town hall-style meetings and public service announcements.

    Locally the campaign will be organized through Champions/UNITE for a Drug Free McCreary County. The coalition held a training meeting last Thursday led by Brandy Wilson, who noted that the average age of first-time drug abuse in eastern Kentucky is about 11 years old.

    “I think this program can be very beneficial to parents and grandparents,” she said.

    Organizers hope to give a 30-minute presentation to at least three civic groups among other activities and cap the campaign with a county-wide “Pill Dragon” event. The “dragon” is a mobile incinerator which safely disposes of unused or outdated medications.

    Anyone interested in participating in the campaign should attend the next Champions meeting this Friday at noon in the SCC-McCreary Center conference room.

    To learn more about the the campaign, contact Sunshine Canada at sunshine.canada@ mccreary.kyschools.us or Roger Owens at 606-376-9346, or visit the UNITE website at www.operationunite.org.

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