According to Pinellas County officials, every 32 hours someone dies of a drug overdose in Pinellas County. In 2010, 280 people died of accidental drug overdoses with 249 of these deaths being due to abuse of prescription pain medication.
To help combat the pill epidemic, the county has created a four-part TV series called, Fighting Back Against Prescription Drug Abuse.
The series, according to a news release, profiles drug abuse problem in Pinellas County and what local officials are doing to combat the issue through law enforcement, local ordinances and public education.
- In part one, guests Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri and Director of Pinellas County Department of Justice and Consumer Services Tim Burns relate local efforts to control illicit drug pill mills.
- In part two, Laurie Serra, cofounder of the Pinellas Chapter of Narcotics Overdose Prevention and Education (NOPE) and Jackie Griffin from Operation PAR and the Live Free Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition discuss public education efforts to enlighten parents and young people to the dangers of prescription drug abuse.
- Part three finds Dr. Cynthia Lewis-Younger from Tampa General Hospital and Judge Dee Anna Farnell of Pinellas County’s Drug Court talking about the dangers of synthetic drugs and the legal problems associated with their control.
- The program concludes as Sgt. Dan Zsido from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and Jan Tracy from Pinellas County Solid Waste explain safe ways to dispose of prescription medication including the county’s Operation Medicine Cabinet initiative.
The vidoes can be viewed online, and they will be airing on PCC-TV on Bright House Channel 622, Verizon Channel 44 and Knology Channel 18. The videos can also be viewed on Patch by clicking on the videos below the picture at the top right of the story.