Queens District RCMP have listed dealing with prescription drugs as one of their top priorities in the coming year.

RCMP Sgt. Dwayne Loppie

Prescription drug abuse is at the root of many crimes, says RCMP Sgt. Dwayne Loppie. (CBC)

"A lot of crime correlates back to the abuse of prescription drugs," RCMP Sgt. Dwayne Loppie told CBC News Thursday.

Loppie said apart from the more traditional policing practice of rooting out drug traffickers, police will run education programs for youth and seniors about prescription pill abuse.

Krista Shaw, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club in Charlottetown, said new education programs are welcome. Shaw deals daily with youth suffering from addiction and said it's an Island-wide issue.

"They see a false sense of security when it's in a prescription bottle," she said.

"Some youth might not even realize what they're taking and especially the dosage of what they're taking."

Olive Bryanton

It's important to include seniors in any education campaigns about illegal use of prescription drugs, says Olive Bryanton. (CBC)

Olive Bryanton, former president of the P.E.I. Seniors Safety Program, said it's important to include seniors in education programs. Seniors, she said, are often offered desperately needed cash for their pain medications, and those pills end up for sale to young people on the street.

"Sometimes a senior will look at the $500 they're offering and say OK, I can put up with the pain for this and with this I'll pay my oil bill," said Bryanton.

RCMP also listed road safety as a priority, in particular a continuing crackdown on impaired and distracted driving. The report noted 46 charges for impaired driving were laid in Queens District in the last year.