By Krista Olmstead

Staff Writer

The Graham county Substance Abuse Coalition, in its continuing campaign to save lives and families through awareness and prevention, has begun preparing for the county fair, where it will host an information booth, as well as its eighth annual conference next April.

Volunteers from the coalition will be onsite at the fairgrounds to share information about safe storage and disposal of prescription medication, a dominant issue in the minds of community members.  The Pima Police will lend the receptacle that normally stands in its front office to the coalition’s booth, so attendees will be able to see exactly what the boxes look like.  Each of the police departments in Graham County - except for the Department of Public Safety office and EAC’s police department - now has its own box, where residents are encouraged to dispose of their excess prescription medications.

“At a meeting I went to recently, I asked 30 people what they knew about these boxes,” said Coalition coordinator Kathy Grimes.  “Only three raised their hands.  We really need to get the word out there!”

Coalition volunteers will also promote the Medicine Abuse Project, which is an initiative sponsored by the partnership at drugfree.org.  The project’s goal is to prevent half a million teens from abusing prescription medication within five years through education and action.  It seeks to curb dangerous and costly drug addictions by attacking with a unified team of family and community members, industry and health care professionals, educators and law enforcement and government officials.  The Medicine Abuse Project asks these team members to take a pledge to help stop teen prescription medicine abuse.  The pledge and more information are available at drugfree.org.

Planning is also underway for the eighth annual Graham and Greenlee Substance Abuse Awareness Conference on April 24.  For information contact Kathy Grimes at (928) 348-1751.

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