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Drug event just the beginning

The third National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 29. The Drug Enforcement Administration, in cooperation with some local municipalities, continues to address this vital public safety and public health issue.

Prescription drug abuse is the nation's fastest growing drug problem; an epidemic with grave local consequences affecting every segment of our community: healthcare costs, law enforcement, schools, students, business, criminal justice and economic development. Citizens can have an immediate effect on the accessibility problem; prevent pill abuse and theft through this voluntary initiative. Prescription drug abuse is rising, as well as accidental poisonings and overdoses.

A coordinated communitywide response is evolving, necessary and evident throughout the state, to increase prevention and education efforts. This year alone, the Oregon Partnership hosted two regional Rx Summits in Southern and Central Oregon. Other Rx Summits are planned throughout the region. Information on these events and the locations of the DEA prescription take back sites can be found on the Oregon Partnership website, oregonparternship.org, or at the 'Got Drugs' link dea.gov.

Residents of East Multnomah County can go to Fairview City Hall's police department lobby 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday to drop off unwanted or expired prescriptions.

Locally, the Greater Gresham Area Prevention Partnership (GGAPP), the East Metro coalition of active leaders and citizens, is hosting a broader discussion about how to impact substance abuse Thursday, Dec. 8, at the National Guard Armory building in Gresham. This annual event will strengthen collaborative efforts, develop community action plans and activities and link stakeholders to effective models for change. The goal is to implement immediate community actions that increase prevention outreach and supports for education. Organizers also hope to engage community members in the work of making the key policy changes needed to reduce prescription, drug and alcohol abuse among youth. For information on the 'Compass Workshop - Navigating an epidemic, mapping a solution' and other GGAPP activities go to ggapp.org or call GGAPP at 503-823-0250.

Marianne Daoust is a Troutdale resident and a member of GGAPP.