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Local Task Force Launches Prescription Drug Forum - Powerful Panel Teams Up To Tackle Tough Issues (posted: 09/30/11)
Source: Substance Abuse Task Force for Volusia and Flagler Counties
Contact: Mark Jones, Chairman, Substance Abuse Task Force of Volusia/Flagler
DAYTONA BEACH -- Despite new laws and a heightened social awareness, prescription drug abuse remains at epidemic levels. And with pharmaceutical-related crime, deaths and addiction on the rise, virtually everyone agrees that more must be done at the grass-roots level to combat the growing problem. With that in mind, the Substance Abuse Task Force for Volusia and Flagler Counties is launching a Community Forum to unite local organizations in a common search for solutions. In the planning stages for nearly eight months, the Community Forum has been scheduled for Oct. 27 in Daytona Beach and is open to the public. The event is free.
The first of its kind in the Volusia-Flagler area, the Forum is designed to bring together a broad cross-section of local organizations to take a fresh look at ways to counteract the prescription drug problem and its impact on the community. The Task Force has elicited participation from virtually every sector of the community, including children, parents, law enforcement, lawmakers, local government, clergy, the medical community, schools, health and human services and treatment providers. The next step is to harness the group’s energy and bring the public into the discussion, according to Mark Jones, CEO of Community Partnership for Children and chairman of the Substance Abuse Task Force. “Prescription drug abuse is a societal problem that negatively affects every level and every component of society,” said Jones. “It’s going to take nothing short of a total community effort to tackle the problem. And that’s the reason we’re having the Forum. It’s a community call to action. Working together, we can and must do more to stop this epidemic.”
Scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Volusia County Health Department in Daytona Beach, the Community Forum will include presentations from various community representatives about the impact of prescription drug abuse, what people can do to confront the problem and what resources are available in the community for those who need help. A panel discussion and question-and-answer session will follow the presentations. Ray Salazar, president of the United Way for Volusia-Flagler Counties, will serve as moderator for the event. “Deaths and addiction due to prescription drugs have increased more than 400 percent over the past 11 years,” said Salazar. “These are staggering statistics that underscore the harmful effects that prescription drug abuse has on our quality of life. As a community, we need to develop effective strategies for reversing this negative trend. Next month’s Community Forum will be a definite step in the right direction.”
Among the scheduled panelists for the Oct. 27 Community Forum are:
- Dr. Frank Farmer, Florida Surgeon General
- Florida Senator Evelyn Lynn
- Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson
- Dr. Margaret Smith, Volusia County School Superintendent
- Circuit Court Judge Joseph Will
- Chet Bell, CEO, Stewart-Marchman-Act Behavioral Health
- Mark Jones, CEO, Community Partnership for Children
- Dr. Roger Accardi, local pharmacist
The Substance Abuse Task Force was created in May 2010 by representatives of the Florida Department of Children & Families, the Volusia County Health Department and Community Partnership for Children. Initially, the impetus for establishment of the Task Force was a growing awareness that more needed to be done to protect children who were being raised in families afflicted by prescription drug abuse and addiction. The Task Force has since significantly expanded its membership and focus and is now devoted to the mission of developing strategies for preventing the epidemic of abuse, addiction, overdose and illegal distribution of prescription medications. To accomplish its mission, the Task Force has enlisted the support of nearly every sector of the community. Its membership has now grown to include more than 50 organizations, including law enforcement, the School District, the Medical Examiner’s Office, the Volusia Council of Governments, One Voice for Volusia, the local NOPE chapter and the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice in addition to a wide range of local health, social service and treatment providers such as The House Next Door, Healthy Start Coalition and Stewart-Marchman-Act Behavioral Healthcare.
“Prescription drugs are threatening the health and safety of far too many Floridians,” said State Surgeon General Dr. Frank Farmer. “I applaud community-based efforts like those of the Substance Abuse Task Force for Volusia and Flagler Counties as they help to raise public awareness of this important issue.”
Page last updated: 09/30/11