L.A.C.E. grant helps fight prescription drug abuse

The Huntington County Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force has received a 2013 grant from L.A.C.E. (Local Anti-Drug Coalition Efforts) of Huntington County to help increase awareness of prescription drug abuse in Huntington County.

The task force is collaborating with L.A.C.E. to continuously educate the community on the dangers of abusing prescription drugs, with a focus on abuse of narcotics.

The grant will help pay for drug awareness programs in schools this fall, when teens will receive information about prescription drug abuse, and for another drug take-back day.

Previous drug take-back days, in which Huntington County residents are given an opportunity to turn in unwanted or outdated prescription drugs, have resulted in the destruction of nearly 500 pounds of prescription and narcotic medications. Those drugs had an estimated street value of $500,000, says Huntington County Coroner Philip Zahm.

Zahm organized the task force in 2011 following an increase in prescription drug overdose deaths in Huntington County that he says "verged on an epidemic level."

To address the problem, the task force made information available to law enforcement personnel, provided informational handouts at local pharmacies and presented programs to local organizations.

For more information about the task force, contact Zahm at 356-4488 or coroner@huntington.in.us.