Last week, 30 Odyssey House clients from the Teen Leadership Center attended a town hall meeting in Albany to discuss prescription drug abuse. It was a great learning experience – the teens learned how to identify prescription drug abuse and how to find and access prevention and treatment services. There were approximately 400 attendees, including treatment professionals, state agency representatives, law enforcement officials and community members. The panel discussion was lead by Jeff VanVonderen, an interventionist on A&E’s Intervention; Billy Fusco, executive director of Dynamic Youth Community; District Attorney David Soares; and Brooke Schewe, Statewide System of Care Director for Families Together.
According to the panel, prescription drug abuse is a growing problem in New York State – surveys have found that 18% of high school seniors in NY abuse prescription drugs, compared to 13% nationwide. The Drug Abuse Warning Network, which tracks drug-related emergency room visits, reports that prescription drugs account for more ER visits than marijuana and heroin combined. The drugs most commonly abused by teens are OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax and Adderall.
Sponsored by Time Warner Cable, A&E and the Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Providers of New York State, the town hall included a screening of an episode of Intervention. The meeting was filmed and will be aired on Time Warner’s Local On Demand stations throughout New York sometime in June. We’ll post more information as we get it. For photos from the event, visit the OASAS page on Facebook.