In 2008, Gladwin county had 3 deaths related to drug overdose, and in 2009 that number doubled to 6 deaths. We wanted to be proactive and find ways to stop the troubling upward trend in drug overdose deaths. Our first project was to sponsor two dinners that were hosted by The County Prosecutor. The dinners were an opportunity to have a discussion about the problem with local law enforcement and those in the medical community. Each event left us with specific action steps to make our community aware of the problem that prescription drug abuse had become.
Ten Sixteen Recovery Network - Gladwin, Michigan, United States
When we noticed the troubling pattern of drug abuse in our community, we knew action needed to be taken. We decided that the best way to determine what that action should be was to have a conversation with everyone affected by the situation. So we invited members of the community, law enforcement, and medical professionals to take part in determining the best solutions to the problem of drug abuse in Gladwin County.
The dinners provided everyone with an opportunity to voice their opinion, and for us to develop a solid plan for the best approach to solving the drug abuse problem in our community.
From the dinners, we determined for distinct steps to help reduce drug abuse in Gladwin County: (1) Our pharmacists agreed to put warning labels on all prescriptions that they filled, and the labels were sponsored by D.A.R.E, (2) we planned a community-wide drug disposal (May 15th, 2010), (3) school-aged students were encouraged to participate in a campaign to design and distribute door-hangers that would include information about monitoring, securing and properly disposing of prescription drugs, and (4) City police have installed a permanent drop box for unused and expired prescription drugs.
Our evaluation of the initiative revealed that in one of our high schools, the reported use of prescription painkillers without a doctor’s orders on the Michigan Profile for Healthy Youth (MiPHY) has dropped from 15.8% to 5.3% among 9th graders (from 2008 to 2010).
Prescription drug awareness will now become a mandatory state initiative for all prevention programs in our area of the state. Of course, we will continue to do work that is above and beyond the upcoming initiative. We already have more discussions planned and will continue to evaluate our progress and the needs in this area.
Our initiative has had a strong impact on the community. We brought awareness to the quickly escalating problem of prescription drug abuse and educated community members on ways to prevent it. Additionally, we installed a permanent drop box for expired prescriptions, and facilitated a significant drop in the abuse of prescription painkillers by those without a legitimate prescription in one of our high schools.
1016 Recovery Network Website: http://www.1016.org/