DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

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May 16, 2012

Prescription drug abuse is target of forum

DERRY — Community Alliance for Teen Safety celebrates the first National Prevention Week and hosts a community forum on prescription drug abuse.

The event, "Answering the Call: A Community Conversation on Prescription Drug Abuse," is set for May 24 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Derry Public Library, 64 E. Broadway.

The forum is free and open to the public.

Members of the New Hampshire Board of Pharmacy and pharmacy students will be featured.

Abuse of prescription drugs is on the rise, according to the 2011 NH Youth Risk Behavior Survey. One in five teens in the state has abused drugs, statistics report.

Other data indicates 70 percent of people abusing prescription drugs get the medicine from family and friends through sharing, purchasing or theft.

"Misuse and abuse of prescription medications continues to be a growing concern in New Hampshire," said Helen Pervanas, pharmacist and member of the NH Board of Pharmacy. "Contributing factors include that prescription drugs are much easier to obtain and misconceptions that they are safer than illicit drugs. This has resulted in a rise of drug-related deaths in New Hampshire, which doubled over the last eight years."

Sue Center, director of CATS, said keeping prescription drugs in check and in the right hands is important.

"There are a number of safety issues," she said. "We don't want to have older prescription drugs hanging around in the house."

Forum panelists will give presentations and answer questions from the audience.

Pervanas will be joined by Margaret Clifford, pharmacist and chief compliance officer for the NH Board of Pharmacy, and Vahrig Manoukian, pharmacist, president of the NH Board of Pharmacy and owner of Hollis Pharmacy.

CATS is a nonprofit organization founded in 1996. Its mission is to promote safe habits for all youth by increasing awareness of high-risk behaviors, encouraging healthy choices and fostering community alliances.

National Prevention Week is a new health observance supported by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration that celebrates the work that community organizations and individuals do year-round to prevent substance abuse, and promote mental, emotional and behavioral well-being.

Contact Paula Galvin at pgalvin@catsnh.org or call 505-5342 for more information.

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