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White House drug policy director to talk policy changes, drug abuse with teens

Posted by Johanna Kaiser  July 30, 2013 07:35 PM

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The Charlestown Substance Abuse Coalition will welcome deputy White House Drug Policy director Benjamin B. Tucker to Charlestown Wednesday to discuss reducing prescription drug abuse and the Obama administration’s drug policy reform plan.

Tucker, deputy director of State, Local and Tribal Affairs for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, is scheduled to talk about the administration’s newly released drug policy reform plan at the Charlestown Boys & Girls Club Wednesday, July 31, from 4 to 5 p.m.

The plan for the drug policy overhaul, released by the administration in April, offers a drug policy that address drug abuse as a public health issue, not a criminal justice issue.

The policy, known as the National Drug Control Strategy, is based on the latest scientific research that demonstrates addiction is a chronic disease of the brain that can be successfully prevented and treated, and from which one can recover, according to the press release announcing the event.

As part of this approach, the administration is supporting the expansion of state-based prescription drug monitoring programs, more convenient and environmentally responsible disposal methods for unused medications, education for patients and healthcare providers, and reducing the prevalence of pill mills and “doctor shopping” through enforcement efforts.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, nearly one-third of people 12 and older who used drugs for the first time in 2009 began by using a prescription drug non-medically. Many believed these substances were safer than illicit drugs because they are prescribed by a healthcare professional and dispensed by a pharmacist.

Tucker will also be joined by 10 Charlestown teenagers who will share their work on Turn It Around, a social marketing campaign aimed at young people to raise awareness about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.

Launched last month, the Turn It Around campaign incorporates these facts and aims to create a relevant and authentic campaign by combining insights from CSAC’s teen youth group and the community.

E-mail Kaiser at Johanna.yourtown@gmail.com. For more news about your city, town, neighborhood, or campus, visit boston.com’s Your Town homepage.

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