Experts Meet in Central Florida to Help Curb Prescription Drug Abuse

Today, more than ever, teenagers and adults are abusing drugs that are typically designed to help patients suffering from chronic pain. The Office of National Drug Control Policy states a number of published studies indicate the main drugs being abused are pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants and sedatives.

An organization, FBI-Leeda, is a non-profit corporation with a goal to advance the science and art of law enforcement leadership and management and is instrumental in a local seminar designed to train law enforcement on how to curb prescription drug abuse.

In May, over 100 law enforcement officials from across Florida, including local law enforcement and government agencies, attended a seminar to help fight illegal trafficking and abuse of these drugs.

The seminar was co-sponsored by the Central Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (CFHIDTA). Purdue Pharma L.P., a privately held pharmaceutical company known for pioneering research on chronic pain, also provided educational support. Attendees also learned how to deter pharmacy theft with a program called RxPATROL.

This program teaches pharmacists how to guard against robberies and burglaries as well as how to assist law enforcement in catching pharmacy crime suspects. Steve Collins, Deputy Director of CFHIDTA was in attendance and said, “It is vital for our law enforcement community to keep abreast of changing trends in order to learn to identify the problems associated with this abuse and take steps to prevent it.” Collins adds, “This training will provide vital tools for law enforcement and the criminal justice community and shows the benefits of public and private sector resources working together for public safety.”

Prescription Drug Abuse in florida

Landon Gibbs, a Law Enforcement Liaison from Purdue Pharma, led the education session of the seminar. Gibbs has almost 30 years of law enforcement experience and experience with investigating the illegal trafficking of prescription medications.

Gibbs brought up the issue that many are concerned about which is how illegal trafficking and abuse of prescription medications can interfere with the care of people with serious illnesses and injuries. Gibbs said, “These medications have a legitimate purpose when used as directed, however, abusing prescription medications can have dangerous and even deadly consequences and can make it harder for people who need these medications to get them.

” The White House Drug Policy site instructs patients to dispose of their prescription drugs via the trash unless the label instructs differently. It has been debated that when drugs are flushed or disposed of in the sink, the medicine is easily added to the water supply.

The site also asks patients to discard expired medicine via trash as well and cited the most abused categories of prescription drug abuse as painkillers like Vicodin and Oxycontin, depressants such as Xanax and Valium, stimulants like Ritalin and steroids which can cause cancer, liver cysts, severe acne and hair loss. Gibbs concluded, “People should secure medications in the home, encourage friends and relatives to safeguard their medications and ask their pharmacist about how to properly dispose of medications they no longer need.”

Drug Treatment Programs for Your Teenager

A few years ago I attended a place in LA called the Dream Center. While there I was shocked by how many teenagers and young adults moved through their recovery program. Just this year I found myself again in a recovery program supporting a close family member and was shocked by how many young adults and teenagers were involved in that program.

It was a vivid reminder that we have many parents who are struggling with their teenager’s drug abuse.

When I talk to people about recovery programs or drug treatment programs I get a lot of funny looks. We immediately think of an old group of people sitting around in a circle, smoking cigarettes, and spilling their soul all over the floor. I can’t remember a teenager I have talked to that wishes or desires to be apart of a group like that.

But truth be told, I have seen many teenagers not only get hope from these groups, minus the old people spilling their souls. For instance, a teenager just came out of a group and he could not stop talking about the people he connected with.

He kept telling me that he could not believe their were people out there that had gone through the same things he had.

So the first of the three drug programs for teenagers I want to talk about is exactly that.

Drug Treatment for teenagers

1) 12 step or Celebrate recovery programs

The easiest ways to find a program in your area is to either go to the celebrate recovery web page or AA web-page to find meetings in your area. They occur almost every night and every location. Celebrate Recovery programs are a faith based 12 step program and AA is the more traditional 12 step program. I have worked and led both of these types of groups. Both are positive and both are great programs. I think either one of them could help any teenager and both would be welcoming of a teenager in their group.

2) Engage in the home.

There is no substitute for someone to engage their teenager in their home. Every time I see parents engage their students in the home good things happen. Teenagers will fight it and keep you at an arms length, but every time a parent does not give up, good things happen.We as parents know when our kids go dark, we also can see it in their lives when they disconnect. It is when we break in and get involved in our kids that they begin to see the support system around them that allows them to succeed.

They will fail unless you are there for accountability and watching the actions of your teen. If you want to see your teen actually break the addiction they have you will need to be involved. Think of it this way. Whatever you are doing now…do 25% more.

3) Removal

I am not talking about removal from the home but removal from their environment. Don’t go out and sell your home or anything drastic unless your teenagers are buying their drugs from your neighbors.

You need to become proactive in discovering where they are getting their drugs and address the issue. If it is at school go to the school. If it is from someone on the street, go to the parent. Become the detective and begin to remove them from their normal environment.

It is wise to call parents of friends to put everyone on notice. I know parents who will find drug free school and actually mover their teenager’s to that school.

In one neighborhood we did some work and discovered where the teenagers were hanging out at night. We then set up some parent watches and begin sending parents on parole into those parks. We wanted to take over the spots they were using for selling drugs. Plus when a teenager would end up missing, the parent knew where to go to find them.

The last thing to remember is that your teen will fail and stutter along the way. You have to know that your teen will have set backs at the beginning. They will use again and find themselves tempted and give into that temptation.

But if you find a recovery group, take control of your home, and work through the removal process, you might be able to create a teen drug treatment that will work