Dozens of Santa Clarita residents attended a prescription drug symposium hosted by city officials at the Santa Clarita Valley Activities Center Wednesday.
The symposium, called “Pills Kill: Prescription to Addiction,” is the fourth in the city’s “Heroin Kills” series and is designed to provide parents with resources to identify the signs of prescription drug abuse, as well as tools for prevention and recovery, according to a city news release.
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“For so many Americans, the door to the medicine cabinet can lead to addictions and death,” said Mayor Laurene Weste, who gave opening remarks at the beginning of the symposium. “Prescription medication poses the same threat as heroin, yet it is even more dangerous because most families already have it in their home. The ‘Pills Kill: Prescription to Addiction’ symposium will help equip families with the knowledge and prevention tips to safeguard our community from the harmful effects of prescription drug abuse.”
A resource expo featuring approximately 18 exhibitors, each with informational booths and representatives on-hand, preceded the main program.
Among the exhibitors were ACTION, Alcoholics Anonymous, California Highway Patrol, College of the Canyons Student Health and Wellness Center, SCV Youth Project, the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station and more.
The main program featured a panel of five experts, and each delivered first-hand knowledge to attendees on ways to protect themselves and loved ones from “the perils of prescription drug abuse.”
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Department Captain Roosevelt Johnson, the first panelist to speak, stated that while the number of drug overdoses has decreased in the Santa Clarita Valley over the past several years, “even one overdose is one too many in my opinion,” he said.
“So you have my commitment that, as the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Department captain, I will do everything in my power… to keep drugs out of this community.”
Other panelists included Hart District Superintendent Rob Challinor, Child and Family Center psychiatrist Dr. Earnest Rasyidi, Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital emergency room physician Dr. Darrin Privitt and Total Care Pharmacy owner and pharmacist Mahesh Patel.
“Our goal is to provide information on what our community is doing to tackle prescription drug abuse and other drug-related issues in the Santa Clarita Valley, and provide you with tips to protect your family.” said City Manager Ken Striplin, who hosted the discussion.
Banners created by DFYIT, or Drug Free Youth In Town, of Santa Clarita Valley filled with signatures of junior high and high school students hung above the audience members’ heads.
More than 4,000 students from Santa Clarita Valley schools signed the pledge to be drug and alcohol free, according to Weste.
The evening concluded with a question and answer session, and panelists were available to answer questions individually following the conclusion of the session.
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