Timothy J. Heaphy, United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia, announced that the US. Attorneys' Community has joined the Partnership at Drugfree.org to promote its multi-year campaign entitled "Medicine Abuse Project" which begins September 23, 2012.
The Western District of Virginia, one of 94 U.S. Attorneys' Offices, is planning several events in coordination with the campaign which aims to curb the abuse of medicine while encouraging parents and the public to take action. A primary focus of the initiative will be to educate communities about the dangers of abusing prescription and over-the-counter medicines.
"The epidemic of prescription drug abuse demands a holistic response that includes prevention, enforcement, and treatment solutions," United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today. "We must prioritize the identification and prosecution of health care providers and others who provide these medications without proper cause. We must simultaneously do all we can to educate people about the dangers of these drugs and provide help to those who are addicted. Nothing short of a full-court press will solve this persistent problem in Southwest Virginia."
"We are deeply grateful to the United States Attorneys' Offices around the nation for joining this collaborative Project to effectively address the intentional abuse of prescription and over-the counter cough medicine," said Steve Pasierb, President and CEO of The Partnership at Drugfree.org. "The U.S. Department of Justice has been an active supporter of our innovative community-based prevention programs. Forging new relationships with partners in the federal criminal justice community is a significant strategic step forward as we build a sustained public/private initiative. The influential voice of U.S. Attorneys' Offices will help greatly in educating parents and teens about the significant and largely underestimated risks of medicine abuse."
The U.S. Attorney's Office for Western District of Virginia is planning and participating in two events to help promote the Partnership at Drugfree.org's "Medicine Abuse Project."
On November 14, the U.S. Attorney's Office will host The Southwest Virginia Prescription Drug Abuse Summit. This event will raise awareness of the personal, social, criminal justice and economic costs of prescription drug abuse and produce a specific set of recommendations to combat it.
This no-cost event will feature speakers from law enforcement, treatment, prevention and education and from the economic development and business communities of Southwest Virginia.
Also, in conjunction with the campaign, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Virginia , as it has for the past several years, will be partnering with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to promote their National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on September 29, 2012. This is the DEA's fifth time collecting unused, unwanted and expired prescription drugs. To date, the agency has received 1.5 million pounds of prescription drugs from the public.
Locally, the DEA has collected over 3,600 pounds of prescription drugs in the Roanoke area since 2010, a per capita number higher than the statewide figures.