Drug Policy Director To Call Attention To Prescription Drug Abuse At Upcoming Conference

Contact: T.J. Bucholz (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

September 7, 2007

The Michigan Office of Drug Control Policy - in conjunction with other state substance abuse professional organizations - will host nearly 1,000 of Michigan's substance abuse professionals at a conference next week in Grand Rapids.

To complement the conference agenda, Donald Allen, Director of the State Of Michigan Office of Drug Control Policy, announced the confirmed attendance of Dennis Romero, the Acting Director of the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, United States Department of Health and Human Services.

"We are pleased to host the conference attendee's and Director Romero in the effort to provide continued direction in the strategies and guidelines for substance abuse prevention. In recent years Michigan has made significant inroads in the effort to curb the use of illegal substances, especially the use of methamphetamine," Allen said.

Allen also said a new challenge on the horizon is the alarmingly high rate of teen prescription drug abuse in Michigan.

"The latest research shows that Michigan has one of the highest rates of teen prescription drug abuse in the country. With the facility of the internet and an increase of adult use of medically prescribed medications, our teens are turning away from street drugs and turning to prescription drugs to get high," he said.

Allen said conference attendees will discuss raising the level of awareness to the fact that legally prescribed medications such as vicodin, percocet, oxycontin and darvon are readily available to children in medicine cabinets, and compete with marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine as substances of choice.

Michigan Treatment Episode Data shows a 116 percent increase (1,556 to 3,368) from 2002 to 2006 in the number of admissions into Michigan's publicly funded treatment system for people reporting prescription drug abuse as a problem at time of admission.

The 8th Annual Michigan Substance Abuse Conference is scheduled for Monday, September 10 and Tuesday, September 11 at DeVos Place, 303 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids.