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Local leaders collaborate for Safe Storage and Disposal Awareness Initiative

The Pike Community Resource Network, the local Georgia Family Connection Collaborative, recently recognized local leaders who are part of a prescription drug Safe Storage and Disposal Awareness Initiative. The partnership includes pharmacist Ken Gaskins, Pike County schools and Dr. Michael Duncan, the Pike County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Jimmy Thomas, John Bringuel of the Council on Alcohol and Drugs and the Pike Community Resource Network. ’We started this initiative last year in partnership with the Pike County School District where students at the high school created videos about the dangers of prescription drug use, misuse and abuse. A second layer of the initiative is to make senior adults aware of the issue,’ said Pike Community Resource Network director Michael Powell. ‘Sheriff Thomas has been very helpful. At the sheriff’s office, there is what ‘˜looks like a mailbox’ where citizens can take old medications and safely dispose of them. It’s between the jail and the sheriff’s office entrance.’ Gaskins is helping raise awareness of the problem by placing flyers in the bags as certain types of medicines are distributed from City Pharmacy. ’Ken gave us some very practical advice on how to best distribute these flyers,’ said Powell. ‘They will also be distributed throughout the community. This is a community partnership and this is what we do – we all work together,’ he said. Sheriff Thomas said reports of missing medications in homes are increasing dramatically and while the drugs are thought to have been stolen by outsiders, they are often taken by family members. ’When people have these high-powered medications in their home, they often don’t consider that they are a risk to their children and other relatives. I can’t tell you how many calls we get a month where medications are reported missing. It’s an ever growing problem,’ he said. ‘The biggest growing problem we face as far as narcotics use are prescription drugs because they are perfectly legal to have and people store them in their homes.’ Bringuel of the Council on Alcohol and Drugs said having a lock box for medication – such as the Medicine Safe which will give a percentage of proceeds to the Pike Community Resource Network – will help combat the problem. ’I’m heartbroken when I hear the number of kids dying from prescription drugs and 70% of them get them from friends and family,’ he said. For information on how to join the initiative, contact Powell at 770-567-2930.

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