HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Drug Awareness Week Offers A Chance To Talk
Pubdate: Wed, 07 Feb 2018
Source: Peterborough Examiner, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2018 Peterborough Examiner
Contact: http://www.thepeterboroughexaminer.com/letters
Website: http://www.thepeterboroughexaminer.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/2616
Author: Jason Bain
Page: A1

DRUG AWARENESS WEEK OFFERS A CHANCE TO TALK

After three years of addressing substance abuse issues while
patrolling local high schools, city police community services officer
Const. Andy Hatton said he has learned more about how important the
lines of communication are between parents and their children.

Drug Awareness Week continues until Friday and city police and health
care and public health partners point out it's a ideal time to have
serious conversations about the topic.

"Don't be afraid to ask those difficult questions. Don't be afraid to
have those sometimes difficult conversations. It's important to know
what's going on," the officer said during a Tuesday morning launch for
the week at Westmount Pharmacy.

The 170 overdoses that resulted in 19 deaths last year is more than
double the totals from the year before, city police Insp. Larry
Charmley said, pointing out that many more incidents go unreported
because people don't call 911.

"That's only the tip of the iceberg, of what we know about," he
said.

Charmley is also chairman of the Peterborough Drug Strategy, a
collaborative effort that addresses complex issues like addiction from
a multi-sector approach with prevention, treatment, harm reduction and
enforcement strategies.

When it comes to addictions, Charmley said the community must work
together to erase the stigma attached to the issue. "They need a lot
of supports to pull themselves out."

The more education the community can provide means more lives can be
saved until we get to the root of the crisis, he added.

According to the Ontario Drug Use and Health Survey, an estimated one
in 10 (or 97,100) school-aged children (Grades 7 to 12) reported using
a prescription opioid pain reliever for recreational purposes in the
last year, Peterborough Public Health health promoter Deanna Leahy
said.

More than half of those surveyed reported getting the drugs from a
parent or sibling, she said, encouraging everyone to do their part to
prevent misuse.

Leahy also highlighted that the same survey showed an 11 per cent
increase in the use of over-thecounter cough and cold medications to
get high, mostly by male students. Drug Awareness Week is an ideal
time to highlight the important of medication safety.

"Parents and grandparents play a huge role in preventing youth access
to prescription medications by locking them away securely, keeping
track of quantities and taking them back to the pharmacy for proper
disposal," she stated.

The Medication Take Back campaign follows three principles to help
reduce potential harm of prescriptions medication in the community.
They include securing your medication, keeping track of quantities and
taking back unused or expired medication, Leahy said.

Medication Take Back is supported by the Peterborough Family Health
Team, Peter borough Regional Health Centre and the Peterborough and
District Pharmacists Association.

The campaign is an easy way to reduce the possibility of overdoses,
Charmley said, pointing out how unused and expired medication is
regularly found at overdose scenes and is not always prescribed to the
person who overdosed.

"You never know when a mental health or physical issue may arise in
your life or someone else who lives under your roof," he stated. "In
those moments of struggle, a poor decision to consume that medication
for relief can result in serious repercussions and sometimes death."

Pharmacies such as Westmount are doing as much as they can, pharmacist
and owner Murad Younis told those gathered near the front of the
picturesque Clonsilla Ave. business.

Misuse of narcotics have become "so common," he said. "It is a daily
practice .... We stress with everyone to returns narcotics because
know family members can misuse them."

This year's Drug Awareness Week is also a good opportunity to speak to
youth as Canada prepares for marijuana legalization later this year,
officials said.

"A great resource for parents is the Cannabis Talk Kit available from
the Drug Free Kids Canada website," Leahy stated.

The week also overlaps with a week-long public health campaign
encouraging residents to "Rethink your Drinking," emphasizing the
association between alcohol use and developing cancer.

For information related to addictions and stigma, visit
www.questionofcare.com - an awareness and training initiative
sponsored by the Peterborough Drug Strategy.

NOTES: For more information on the Peterborough Drug Strategy, visit
www.peterboroughstrategy.com .... For more resources for parents and
guardians, visit www.parentactionondrugs.org .... To follow Drug
Awareness Week activities, search #DAW and #MedicationTakeBack on Twitter.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt