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Abuse of prescription drugs focus of program for parents

Updated: March 11, 2013 6:45AM

The Kaneland School District, in partnership with the Kane County Sheriff’s Office, hopes to help parents understand the dangers prescription drugs can present when left unmonitored in the home.

“The health and safety of our students is very important to us,” Kaneland Superintendent Jeff Schuler said. “When we see or recognize a trend that threatens the safety of students it is essential that we take steps to share that with our community. Our goal through the parent evening is to raise awareness of the dangers that come from misuse and distribution of rescription drugs. Raising awareness can only help to keep our students safe.”

The district is repeating a program made available to parents last year that featured experts from the sheriff’s office and Drug Enforcement Administration’s Tactical Diversion Unit.

The presentation will be held at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 13 in the Kaneland High School auditorium.

The seminar will provide information on current trends in prescription drug abuse among youth, common sources for acquisition of illegal pharmaceuticals and prescription drug identification.

The seminar will also provide parents with information on the proper disposal of unused medications in a drop-off box at the Kane County Sheriff’s Office during regular business hours or the police agency within their jurisdiction.

The DEA, assigned to investigate the unlawful “diversion” of prescription medications, has described the use of addictive prescription medications and recreational use of controlled pharmaceutical medications as an “American epidemic.” The Kane County Sheriff’s Office has said prescription narcotics are a “growing concern” and encourages parents to get informed.

About a dozen parents attended the first-ever informational seminar last school year.

“Most people don’t go through an entire bottle of prescribed pain reliever medication and it sits in your medicine cabinet. Kids can be inquisitive and influenced the wrong way. They can sell it or start using it,” Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez told the parents.

Perez told the parents he has heard of kids in unnamed communities hosting “pharming” parties where they collect pain pills, ant-depressants, muscle relaxers and anything else from home and drop them into a bowl and start popping them.

He said some of the signs to look for in a child using unauthorized prescription medications are anti-social behavior, sudden mood swings and sleeping problems.

The meeting is open to all Kaneland parents.

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