College Hosts Town Hall Meeting on Prescription Drug Abuse

A Town Hall Meeting on prescription drug abuse will be held Thursday, April 25 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm (O'Brien Building, Room 218) at the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (ACPHS), in partnership with the Addictions Care Center of Albany, ACPHS, and Albany County STOP-DWI.

The misuse of prescribed pain medication is one of the most dangerous drug situations facing the country. Emergency room doctors are overwhelmed with the misuse of medication. Almost thirty thousand people die each year in the U.S due to overdosing on prescription medication. Research has shown that these drugs kill three times as many people than heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamines put together.

The Town Hall panel of experts will address these issues and provide various perspectives on the impact that prescription drug abuse has on our communities, as well as discuss ways in which prescription drug abuse is being combatted so that those with substance abuse disorders can lead healthier, more productive lives.

Participants in this event include:

  • Angela Dominelli, Ph.D. – Dean of the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Sarah Scarpace, Pharm.D. – BCOP, Assistant Dean for Pharmacy Professional Affairs
  • John T. McDonald, III – NYS Assemblymember 
  • Denis Foley – STOP-DWI Coordinator, Albany County Sheriff’s Office
  • Gail Moore – Director of Outpatient Programs, Addictions Care Center of Albany
  • Members of the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists – ACPHS

Keith W. Stack, Executive Director of the Addictions Care Center of Albany, states, “We are pleased to have the opportunity to collaborate with the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and Albany County STOP-DWI to bring to light the impact that prescription drug abuse has on our region. Over the past few years, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of clients who are admitted to our programs as a result of medication abuse. We look forward to providing information about the efforts being made in our community to combat this serious problem.”

According to Albany County Sheriff Craig D. Apple, “Some medications can impair your ability to drive just as much as alcohol. I firmly believe that there is a high percentage of our population that is medicated and many people are taking multiple medications which could prove to be deadly if warnings are not followed. Our mission at the Albany County STOP-DWI Program is to remove the impaired driver from our roadways. Whether they are impaired by alcohol, illegal substances or prescription medications, they are still driving impaired and that is something that we have to do a better of job deterring.”

“The non-medical use of prescription medication (NMPM) is a growing public health problem in the United States,” says Dr. Sarah Scarpace, Assistant Dean at Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. “According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2010, one in five Americans aged 12 or older reported using a prescription drug for nonmedical purposes at some point during their lifetime. Alcohol and marijuana use has declined over the past decade among college populations, while NMPM is on the rise for adults aged 18 to 25. This Town Hall event is an important step to raise awareness about this problem in the Capital District community.”

About ACCA
The Addictions Care Center of Albany empowers individuals, families and communities to advance beyond addiction and overcome barriers to healing through an array of quality, compassionate care and prevention programs. ACCA respects each individual’s unique journey through recovery and believes the disease of addiction is both preventable and treatable. Among ACCA’s services are community residences, outpatient clinic and intensive day treatment programs, substance abuse prevention education programs, and training and development programs for professionals in the addictions field. ACCA is located at 90 McCarty Avenue, Albany, New York 12202.

About Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Founded in 1881, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences is a private, independent institution committed to graduating the best health care minds in the world. In addition to its doctor of pharmacy program, ACPHS offers five bachelor’s programs and five graduate programs in the health sciences. The College’s main campus is located in Albany, New York; its satellite campus is in Colchester, Vermont.

About Albany County STOP-DWI
The mission of the STOP-DWI Program is to improve the quality of life of the residents of Albany County by reducing alcohol and drug-related traffic injuries and fatalities by targeting underage alcohol and drug use through enforcement, prosecution, public information and education, victim services, and rehabilitation support. This program is responsible for administering various “Special Traffic Options Programs” in order to address the dangers of drunk and drugged driving, traffic safety, and underage drinking. The STOP-DWI Program is funded from fines collected by New York State from persons convicted of alcohol and substance abuse-related driving offenses. Albany County STOP-DWI Program is located at 16 Eagle St., Albany, NY 12207.

April 22, 2013