Prescription drug abuse town hall held in Reno

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Join Together Northern Nevada put on a town hall meeting July 12, 2016 at the University of Nevada, Reno to address prescription drug abuse in our community.

Doray Elkins shared her story at this meeting. She knows firsthand what addiction can do to a person; her daughter was addicted to prescription drugs.

"You don't expect addiction to hit them, you don't expect anything bad to happen to them..." Elkins said.

Her daughter, Alexa, was a 4.0 student, with a bubbly personality and the whole world ahead of her when addiction struck.

"It seems like it started with Adderall in college and if somebody has a predisposition to addiction and they take a certain medication, they could be off to the races with it," Elkins said.

After trying unsuccessfully for many years, Alexa is finally in recovery.

Young people like Alexa usually get involved through gateway drugs, but another gateway into the world of prescription drug abuse is chronic pain. Often doctors will prescribe drugs to treat the pain, but it never goes away.

"They stop working, because of tolerance, the drugs don't work forever, so at that point if you want to keep taking opioids, you have to raise the dose," Dr. Mel Pohl said.

Leaving the patient with a serious dependence on prescription drugs.

The most important sign of addiction is change, in thinking, memory, judgement, self-care and more.

"Classic signals that sometimes you brush under the rug and you don't want to see it,” Elkins said.

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To kick off the event, Washoe County District Attorney Chris Hicks presented a $10,000 donation to representatives of Join Together Northern Nevada. Funding for this donation originated from the office’s forfeiture account and was donated to support JTNN’s mission to reduce the impact of substance abuse on the community. This donation comes at a time when the growth of opioid drug abuse is being recognized locally and community partnerships are expanding efforts in Washoe County to address the problem.

According to JTNN, Tuesday’s Town Hall was organized as a conversation about prescription drug abuse. Topics addressed included prescription opioid abuse, how to combat and overcome the ensuing addiction, the susceptibility of an adolescent’s brain to substance abuse and addiction, and law enforcement’s role in prevention.

According to Jennifer DeLett-Snyder, JTNN Executive Director, “since its inception, Join Together Northern Nevada has been dedicated to reducing the impact of substance abuse on the community through educational programs, awareness campaigns, and providing access to K-12 evidence-based prevention programming. JTNN is continually seeking new ways to provide information to community members and we thank District Attorney Hicks for his Office’s generous donation. ”

In commenting on his office’s donation DA Hicks said “the legal forfeiture of drug proceeds is an effective way to combat drug distribution in our community. The disruption of drug dealers ill-gotten financial gains is that much sweeter when we can then use that money to assist important drug prevention organizations like JTNN.”

Funding for the donation comes from a Federal DEA forfeiture account, which consists of money seized in connection with drug cases. The funds are secured by the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office and can in turn be used to support local drug prevention efforts.



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