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County to receive portion of $7 million to aid in prevention of teen prescription drug abuse

The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) is teaming up with community anti-drug coalitions across a 10-county region of East Tennessee in an effort to reduce the number of young people who are abusing prescription drugs.
To help achieve this goal, TDMHSAS has secured nearly $7 million dollars in federal grant funds to engage with young people through public awareness campaigns and community-based prevention and enforcement efforts over a five-year period.
“Our objective is to reduce the abuse of prescription drugs by the 12– 25 year old age group by more than four percent,” said E. Douglas Varney, Commissioner, TDMHSAS. “If we’re successful, that will add up to thousands of young lives saved from disastrous consequences. We owe it to them, their families, and communities to do all we can.”
The 10 counties to be targeted include: Anderson, Blount, Hamilton, Jackson, Johnson, Knox, Putnam, Smith, Sullivan, and Washington. These counties represent 41% of Tennessee’s population.
Working through established anti-drug coalitions, Tennesseans in the targeted counties will experience grassroots efforts to change public policy as it relates to local, county and city government ordinances and law enforcement procedures toward prescription drug use and abuse.
To help ensure the proper storage and disposal of prescription drugs, the prevention effort will include increasing the availability and use of home lock boxes and drug take-back boxes. Pharmacies and law enforcement agencies also will be established locations for the safe disposal of unused prescriptions.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.