Prescription drug panel targets teens

A panel targetted school kids in P.E.I. today and the topic was the dangers of prescription drugs.

Panel uses direct approach in talk about prescription drugs

The RCMP is using the hard truth to make junior high students aware of the dangers of  prescription drug abuse.

"Just think of the worst flu you ever had," said Cpl. Andy Cook of the RCMP Drug Unit. "You are home in bed. You are puking in the toilet."

Cook was one of the panel members speaking at three schools in P.E.I. Police officers and health officials say prescription drug abuse is a major issue on the Island.

Youth addictions counsellor Lynn Jones also spoke as a panel member. She took a direct approach when she spoke to the young teens.

"People that were once full of life, hopes, and dreams, this changes when drug use happens," said Jones.

The panellists were vivid about the dangers of prescription drug abuse. School youth service worker John Robertson says sadly, some students have already learned the hard way.

"A student could talk to his friend, who might be diagnosed with ADHD, and might be prescribed a stimulant, and that friend might convince him to use it as well and buy the meds off him," said Robertson.

P.E.I.'s department of justice arranged the panel discussions on prescription drug use.

The RCMP's drug enforcement unit says prescription drugs are the biggest problem they're dealing with right now.

"When 75 % of the drugs we're seeing trafficked are prescription drugs, then enforcement is not going to solve the whole problem," said Cpl. Cook. "We have to look outside of the enforcement options to whatever else may be able to address the issue."

Cook says a P.E.I. prescription pill committee was recently formed. It's trying to find more ways to tackle the prescription drug problem. The school presentations are just one part of the solution.

"The earlier you can reach people, the better," said Jones. "Because prevention, education, and information is key. So people can know, okay, I shouldn't do this because of this, this and this."