Town hall meeting to grab hold of prescription drug abuse

By Melissa Correa - bio | email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - It's a drug problem that usually starts at home. Prescription drugs, stashed in a medicine cabinet fall into the hands of teens who don't the risks of overdosing or death seriously.

She's careful and focused on getting mail shipped out. But just a few years ago Sue Bailey's life was a mess. She was addicted to prescription drugs.

"Prescription pain medication. It started with a health condition back in '04, the beginning of '04," Bailey said.

For two and a half years she separated from family, friends and her job, doing anything to get painkillers.

"You can jump doctors. You can buy prescription medication on the streets," Bailey said.

A run-in with the law landed her in Chesterfield's drug court. She's now three years sober. SAFE Director Wayne Frith is hoping Sue's story will keep teens out of the medicine cabinet.

"In Chesterfield County, we did a survey in 2007 and discovered that the rate of prescription drug abuse was 70 percent higher than the national average," Frith said. "Kids are interested in acquiring prescription medication because they perceive those drugs to be safer."

Yet Wayne says prescription drug abuse kills more teens than cocaine, heroin and meth combined. Teens aren't the only users.

"The two peaks are, over 60 and under 25," he said.

So for the past two years he and a team of community coalitions have prepared for tonight's town hall meeting. Experts will talk about the trends, dangers and how to secure medicine in the home. Everything from cough syrup to painkillers will be covered.

"It very easily can become addictive and take control of your life as it did mine."

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