Town Hall Raises Awareness About Prescription Drug Abuse in the - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Town Hall Raises Awareness About Prescription Drug Abuse in the Community

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With rising prescription drug abuse in our area, the community is striking up a conversation about the issue. 

Join Together Northern Nevada, a nonprofit substance abuse prevention coalition hosted a town hall on Tuesday night to talk about the non-medical use of pharmaceuticals.

Numerous agencies who make up the Community Opioid Response Alliance spoke about prevention, treatment, law enforcement's role and how families are impacted by addiction. 

Jennifer Snyder, the Executive Director of Join Together Northern Nevada said, "Why are we here. Why do we think we need a pill for everything that happens?"

A recent Centers for Disease Control report shows Nevada rates near the top for prescription painkillers sold.  

"We need to talk about it and help people because there are people out there who are suffering," said Snyder. 

Tuesday night's town hall included a panel of experts from recovery centers, local law enforcement, to families dealing first hand with their loved one's addiction.

Pharmacy technician student, Scarlette Briggs knows the consequences of prescription drug abuse. 

"I actually lost a friend a few years ago that was addicted and it sucks. It's like you see these kids and they're having problems and instead of talking to someone, they take prescription drugs. So it would just be better if we could help them," said Briggs, a student at Sierra Nevada Job Corps. 

That's why Briggs joined the conversation. She's hoping to learn more about stopping the problem at the pharmacy counter. 

Briggs adds, "For pharmacy technicians, we're the first line of defense."

Deputy Chief Mac Venzon with the Reno Police Department spoke to the crowd about how drug addicts don't belong in jail, they belong in treatment facilities. 

"We will never arrest our way out of this. If we don't collaborate as a community and try to figure out how do we stop this before it gets out of hand," said Venzon. 

Law enforcement also shared information on the proper disposal of expired and unused medications to prevent abuse. And experts talked about how doctors need to watch the high dosage of prescription drugs, which can lead to overdoses. 

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