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Opinion

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Sept. 19 - Oct. 2, 2015

39

Community Commentaries

‘Call to Action’ highlights Rx drug abuse drugs in the past 30 days report getting The Chandler Coalition on Youth them from friends, family or right out of Substance Abuse (CCYSA), which is a the home. The largest growth population program of ICAN, hosted a community of Rx drug abuse is adults aged 45-54 “Call to Action” recently regarding and even seniors because this Prescription (Rx) Drug Abuse. I was population may be experiencing shocked at the sobering statistics pain for the first time in their that were presented. There lives. Unfortunately, some were 579 million class II-IV pills become dependent, which can (painkillers) prescribed in AZ in lead them down a dark path to 2014—that’s enough to medicate illegal use and cheaper solutions every person in Arizona roundfor their habit. That can result in the-clock for two weeks straight. Becky Jackson. heroin addiction. Submitted photo The Centers for Disease Control Arizona ranks 12th highest have classified Rx Drug Abuse as a in the nation for individuals 12 national epidemic. years and older misusing and abusing Rx So who is affected? For one, our drugs. The statistics are alarming and, as youth—and Chandler is unfortunately a result, the Arizona Substance Abuse higher than average. According to Partnership, along with many state and statistics, 7.6 percent of youth in Chandler local partners, have launched a multireported using Rx drugs in the last 30 systemic effort to reduce prescription days and the average for the state is 6.3 drug misuse and abuse in Arizona. The percent. What’s even more startling is program was piloted in three counties that 1 in 8 who misused Rx drugs started where they saw a 28 percent reduction in in elementary school and 72 percent rates of opioid-related deaths. Nonpilot started before they could legally drive. counties saw a 4 percent increase. The Where are these youth getting the Rx effort centers around five core strategies: drugs? Their parents’ medicine cabinet, or 1. Reduce illicit acquisitions and maybe grandma’s purse. In Chandler, 77.8 diversion of prescription drugs. percent of youth who have misused Rx What can you do? Lock up your Rx

BY BECKY JACKSON

drugs or just get rid of them! Chandler Police have drop boxes at their substations for safe disposal. 2. P  romote responsible prescribing and dispensing policies and practices. What can you do? Talk to your doctors and ask them if they use the Arizona Controlled Substances Prescription Monitoring Program (CSPMP). Unfortunately, only 34 percent of prescribers in Maricopa County are signed up for the program and even less actually use the program. 3. Enhance Rx drug practice and policies in law enforcement. What can you do? Support your local law enforcers by helping keep an eye on the community—call them if you are suspicious about someone’s actions. 4. Increase public awareness and patient education and Rx drug misuse. What can you do? More than half of Arizona youth have never talked to their parents about alcohol or drugs! And the No. 2 reason Chandler teens say that they choose not to use drugs is “parent disapproval.” Yes, teens do care what their parents think, but you need to talk to them! Need some help in that area? Visit www.drugfree.org. Also, if you would like to schedule a presentation on the topic for a group

of people, please email ted@icanaz.org. 5. Enhance assessment and referral to substance abuse treatment. What can you do? Maybe you know someone who is already in trouble. Get them help! Organizations such as Community Bridges provide crisis care, along with inpatient and outpatient treatment. Need help? Call the crisis line at (602) 222-9444. This model has proven effective at combating this epidemic in our state. CCYSA, along with Chandler Police, Dignity Health, Chandler Unified School District and our local elected officials have committed to working with the state agencies to put this plan into action in Chandler. I encourage everyone to join our crusade! Whether you take steps to educate yourself and others or step into a leadership role and volunteer to join CCYSA (learn more at www. ccysachandler.org or contact ted@icanaz. org), everyone one of us can do their part! Becky Jackson is president and CEO of ICAN: Positive Programs for Youth. Sources: Arizona Criminal Justice Commission, CCYSA 2014 Needs Assessment, Community Bridges

Prepare the emergency kit that is right for your family BY COUNCILWOMAN NORA ELLEN

September is designated as “National Emergency Preparedneness Month” and every resident is encouraged to make a plan in case of an emergency. Although Arizona is not prone to natural disasters, we experience our fair share of power outages and floods, and by definition, an emergency can happen at any time, anywhere. It is our responsibility to be as ready as possible to take care of ourselves and our loved ones, including pets. As part of my Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training, I was reminded of the need to gather essential items to survive for at least three days. First responders address the needs of the most affected and vulnerable people but everyone needs to have basic supplies at hand. When an emergency occurs, it is likely

that residents lose access to convenience stores, gas stations, electricity, water supplies and maybe even cellphone reception. It is recommended to keep a backpack filled with supplies at home and a smaller version in the car. Suggested items include: • Water and nonperishable foods are always a priority. It is recommended to store at least 1 gallon of water per person per day. If the nonperishable foods include can goods, it is important to have a manual can opener available as well. • Infant formula, prescription medications, including an extra pair of glasses and contact lenses with solution, first-aid kit and pet foods are also critical. • Each person needs to have a clean set of clothes, toiletries and blankets or sleeping bags. It is also useful to prepare several

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flashlights with extra batteries for each of what it takes to prepare for an emergency family member. by enrolling in the Chandler CERT training. • Small tools such as a pair of Not only do we learn about the scissors, duct tape, gloves, role of first responders but we protective glasses, ropes and are encouraged to take action by plastic bags can come in handy getting to know our neighbors if there is structural damage or if and the resources available in there is a need to move items in our neighborhoods. The federal or around a house. government maintains websites • Some less common items that aimed at informing the public about can be very useful include a emergency readiness campaigns. Nora Ellen. manual crank generator to power Submitted photo Visit www.ready.gov for detailed small appliances, such as radios information or call our Fire, Health or cellphones and bleach. Liquid & Medical Department for local chlorine bleach can be used to treat and initiatives at (480) 782-2116. purify water. To make water potable, simply add 1/4 teaspoon of bleach per gallon of Councilwoman Nora Ellen can be reached water and let it sit for 30 to 60 minutes. at nora.ellen@chandleraz.gov. Her term ends Residents can gain a better understanding January 2017. preferred submission method, to Letters@ SanTanSun.com. All submitted Letters to the Editor and Community Commentaries become the property of the SanTan Sun News and may be reprinted in part, quoting the letters’ authors, or in their entirety. Your submission

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