Wednesday Nov 25 2009
Conference addresses teen prescription drug abuse in county
By: Joanna Jullien, Special to The Placer Herald
Christy Crandell of Rocklin said her son’s life was saved by his prison sentence for the armed robbery committed to fund his prescription and over-the-counter drug addiction. A recent community convening on youth prescription drug abuse assembled representatives from the education community, Placer County law enforcement agencies, other state and U.S. law enforcement officials, pharmacies, psychologists, health care community, substance abuse treatment professionals, parents and high school students to address the growing epidemic of prescription drug abuse among our youth. Assistant District Attorney Scott Owens told attendees of the event, “This generation has been named ‘Generation Rx’ — because it has a unique ‘pharming’ culture that is hard to detect.” According to Owens, there is a generation gap allowing youth drug addictions to flourish under the radar because parents do not recognize that prescription drugs are a source for serious substance abuse. The conference was organized by The Coalition for Placer Youth, a grass roots coalition founded in June 2008, and co-hosted by Rocklin, Roseville, Lincoln and Auburn police departments, the county sheriff and the Placer County Department of Education. Testimony of the youth at the event indicated that prescription drugs are easy to obtain and that parents should start talking to their children about the dangers of drugs and looking for signs as early as the third grade. Crandell is the co-founder of Full Circle Treatment Center in Roseville and she spoke at at the conference to this harsh reality. Her son Ryan is serving a 13-year sentence at Folsom Prison for armed robbery committed three weeks after his 18th birthday in an attempt to fund his addiction to prescription and over the counter drugs. “I was a stay-at-home mom,” Crandell said. “My husband coached the kids’ sports teams, and we had family game nights. And I had no idea he was at risk.” Crandell further explained to the audience that one of Ryan’s friends who was involved in the robbery, and was not 18 years old at the time of the incident, received a very light consequence as a juvenile and his drug addiction to Oxycontin and other prescription drugs resulted in his suicide. This conference concluded with a few tips on how to prevent drug abuse in young children including: Encouraging families to dispose of left over prescriptions legally and safely and monitor carefully any supply that is still viable and in use. The Roseville, Rocklin, Auburn and Lincoln police departments are coordinating efforts to establish convenient, local drop offs in each city. The probation department is exploring how to make prescription drug disposal service available and The Placer Coalition for Youth will identify and publish a list of drop off sites in the county area. Schools can encourage families to inspect their prescription supply and discard old prescriptions by making an assignment with credit towards the student’s grade, which also requires the parent and child to discuss the dangers of prescription drug abuse. Outreach to physicians to guard against prescribing too many pills for a health care episode. Joanna Jullien can be reached at Jullien@surewest.net. ------ Rx Abuse Prevention meetings Next event: 3:30 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 1 Where: Rocklin Police Department, 4080 Rocklin Road. More information: contact Kathie Sinor at firstname.lastname@example.org.