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March 21 Kick Off Meeting Draws 40 from All Community Sectors

STONE RIDGE—The Prescription Drug Task Force of Ulster County held a kick off meeting on Thursday, March 21 at SUNY Ulster, drawing more than 40 people interested in supporting the task force’s goal of mobilizing all sectors of the community to reduce the epidemic of prescription drug abuse. Participants included doctors, pharmacists, school personnel, nonprofit agencies, mental health providers, law enforcement and local youth.

"The Centers for Disease Control declared prescription drug abuse a silent epidemic that is stealing thousands of lives and tearing apart communities and families across America" said Cheryl DePaolo, Director of the Ulster Prevention Council. "Ulster County is mobilizing the community to take action against this national health crisis".

According to a 2009 study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, 16 million Americans ages 12 and older had taken a prescription pain reliever, tranquilizer, stimulant, or sedative for nonmedical purposes at least once in the year prior to being surveyed.

In a survey administered by the Ulster Prevention Council in 2012, 2.9 percent of the county’s 8th graders, 11.7 percent of 10th graders and 18.5 percent of 12th graders reported having abused prescription painkillers in their lifetime and 3.6% of students grade 7-12 had abused prescription painkillers in the previous 30 days.

The Prescription Drug Task Force is a joint initiative of the Ulster County Departments of Health and Mental Health and the Ulster Prevention Council. The next meeting will take place on April 18, 2013 at 10:00 AM at the Ulster County Department of Mental Health at 239 Golden Hill Dr. in Kingston.

For more information on the Prescription Drug Task Force of Ulster County call 845-458-7406.