Florida - The Safe Climate Coalition Prescription Project
The Safe Climate Coalition Prescription Project (SCC Rx) purchased “depository safes” for every law enforcement office in Lake County except for Tavares Police Department (they already had one).
The mission and purpose of the Safe Climate Coalition is to collaborate with community stakeholders to focus on youth substance abuse and violence reduction and prevention while maximizing resources and providing opportunities for children and families to be self-sufficient, productive contributors in Lake County and society.
Since 2003, as a community coalition focused on prevention and youth, we have worked to enable community partners to collaborate to solve issues using an outcome-focused process with data and evidence-based strategies/ programs to impact community level change that is culturally comprehensive: implement multiple strategies by representatives of multiple sectors.
The goal of the Safe Climate Coalition Prescription Project (SCC Rx) is to reduce and prevent prescription drug abuse by youth in Lake Co. through the implementation of a strategy: collaborate with Lake Co. law enforcement to create and implement an ongoing prescription drug disposal take back program as measured by the permanent installation of “depository safes” in law enforcement stations” following Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) guidelines within the framework of the law specifically Title 21 Code of Federal Regulations 1301.24(a) (2) and the Controlled Substance Act.
In order to successfully implement the goal, we need to understand the effects of the abuse on Lake Co. (1) There are 4 major consequences: deaths from overdoses; increases in crime and the costs of enforcement; increases in the use of prescription drugs, addictions and the costs of treatment – an estimated $15 billion in 2009 in FL; and decreases in quality of life (Broward Co. Grand Jury, 2009). (2) Given the direct correlation between health, productivity of our workforce and our standard of living, the impact of prescription abuse has long been documented as costing our businesses billions of dollars: employees missing work, unfocused employees dealing with a drug addicted family members; workplace productivity; and workman’s compensation claims (Broward Co. Commission on Substance Abuse, March 2011). (3)There are over 1400 lakes in Lake Co. Prescription drugs and over-the-counter treatments contain powerful chemicals that can have adverse effects on the environment when introduced through our water systems and landfills. “Recent studies have shown that nearly every major drinking water source in the US has tested positive for these substances….. presenting a number of health issues ….. cancer. The only way to prevent unwanted consumer pharmaceuticals from reaching the environment is through pharmaceutical take-back programs” (West Virginia Rivers Coalition Report, www.wvrivers.org).
Need for the program…..“Prescription drug abuse is our Nation’s fastest-growing drug problem…. said Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy.” Former Senator Dave Aronberg states that, “Prescription-drug abuse has become the #1 public safety threat to Florida.” As a Coalition, we are aware that the problem goes well beyond the street corner pill pusher. In Lake Co., you don’t have to look any further than the family medicine cabinet.
In August 2009, a member of the FL State Epidemiology Workgroup, Dr. Mark Vargo shared these statistics at the monthly Coalition meeting about Lake Co. youth from the FL Youth Substance Abuse Survey (FYSAS): (A) 7-12th graders state they use prescription pain relievers because they are easy to get at home (62%); (B) 18 to 25 year-old abusers say they got prescription pain relievers from a friend or relative for free (37.5%); (C) Lake Co. was 8th in the state with 181 for Rx Opioids-related deaths in 2008; (D) Lake Co. was 14th in the state with 84 Benzodiazepine-related deaths in 2008; (E) Lake Co. was listed as the 6th county in the “top 50 dispensing practitioners of Oxycodone in the U.S. – all of which were in FL.” At that time, Lake Co. was dispensing approximately 220,400 units of oxycodone – almost as many residents as Lake Co. had at the time!
On March 1st of 2011, “aiming to deter the growing illegal prescription-drug trade” the Board of Co. Commissioners imposed a moratorium on permits for new pain clinics in Lake Co. and added restrictions to the 13 existing pain clinics in Lake County: limiting the hours of operation and banning cash-only transactions (Orlando Sentinel, March 18, 2011).
An average of 7 persons die every day in Florida because of lethal overdoses from the illegal misuse of prescription drugs; an additional 7 persons die daily with at least one prescription drug detected often in combination with alcohol or other drugs (FDLE, Medical Examiners Commission, 2009-2010). Among Florida HS students in 2010, 9.7% have misused a prescription pain reliever in their life; 3.6% in the past month. In Lake County, those numbers are even higher – 12.6% have misused a prescription pain reliever in their life and 4.7% in the past month (2010 FYSAS). Additionally, lax laws in Florida have made it the destination for addicts and drug dealers from other states (www.healthnewsflorida.org).
The intended outcomes of the Safe Climate Coalition Prescription Project (SCC Rx): knowledge of how to discard unwanted, unused medications; prevention of medications being used for non-medical purposes; awareness of issues and how consequences affect quality of life; improved individual health; youth making “informed decisions” and understanding consequences; increasing age of onset of use by youth; raising youth perception of risk or harm of any substance abuse.
The Safe Climate Coalition is a community coalition focused on youth prevention. Working within a strategic prevention framework, SCC brings the community together over issues related to substance abuse and violence prevention to address local issues. Using data and evidence-based strategies and programs, SCC encourages community partners to collaborate to solve the problem together in order to reach a resolution that is culturally comprehensive. This outcome-focused process is designed to help communities prevent and reduce substance abuse while also impacting community level change: a continuous process of five steps → conducting community needs assessment → building community capacity → developing a comprehensive strategic plan → implementing evidence-based programs, practices, policies → evaluating effectiveness.
SCC also encourages the use of environmental strategies instead of relying on individual solutions as interagency coordination and collaboration accomplishes more. Environmental strategies incorporate prevention efforts aimed at changing or influencing community conditions, standards, systems, and policies. Ample evidence exists that environmentally-based approaches reach entire populations and reduce collective risk, making them cost effective prevention strategies. The success of SCC is the result of a strict adherence to the utilization of data for all planning and prioritizing of community issues.
For more information, please contact Debi MacIntyre at 352.408.2009 or firstname.lastname@example.org.