FLORENCE, AZ (4/30/14) – Pinal County Substance Abuse Council (PCSAC), in partnership with Coolidge Youth Coalition, Cenpatico, and the Pinal County Attorney’s Office, will host an OxyContin and Heroin Abuse Regional Training. The training will be held from 9:00am to 12:00N on May 15th, 2014 at the Performing Arts Center in Coolidge, AZ.
Since 2002, the number of youth, 12- to 17-years-old, first being exposed to heroin increased by 80 percent, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The rise in heroin addiction has been largely attributed to prescription drug abuse serving as a gateway drug, reduced cost and increased availability within our communities. Due to these factors, heroin addiction crosses economic, educational, geographic, race and gender demographics, now more than ever.
The transition from oxycodone to heroin has become a national public health ‘epidemic’ and poses a significant problem for our communities in Arizona. As a result, PCSAC is offering this one of a kind training for first responders, law enforcement agencies, treatment professionals, parents, students, educators and the public, in general.
Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu and Pinal County Attorney Lando Voyles will provide remarks regarding their observations of prescription drug abuse as a gateway to heroin use in Pinal and, generally, in Arizona. They will also discuss efforts their offices are taking to reduce these issues in Pinal, including the prescription drug drop-boxes located throughout the county.
Elizabeth Kempshall, Executive Director of the Arizona High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) and a former Special Agent in Charge, Phoenix Field Division, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Dr. Michel Sucher, M.D., a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians, Director of Community Bridges and nationally-known Addiction Specialist, will serve as the keynote speakers. Their focus will center on the increased prevalence of heroin use among America and Arizona’s youth - the causes, treatments, and preventative actions community leaders, organizations and parents can explore to curb abuse and use of these drugs.
Wrapping up the day, PCSAC will host a panel to allow for questions and answers; posed by a moderator and attendees. Panelists will include, Cindy Schaider, Executive Director of Casa Grande Alliance; Detective Jason Masterson, Coolidge Police Department; and Dr. Michel Sucher.
Sharon Boyd, Executive Director of the Coolidge Youth Coalition, stated, “We are excited to offer this one-of-a-kind specialized training, free to the public, and encourage anyone dealing with substance abuse or risky behaviors, who interacts with youth, to attend.”
Pinal County Attorney Lando Voyles stated, “Specific, illegally operating organizations declared Arizona the heroin distribution hub for the entire United States. Using our infrastructure and proximity to the Southern Border of the United States, these organizations move large quantities of heroin into and beyond Arizona. Numbers show, increasingly, that heroin use and addiction exists as a real and significant problem in Pinal and Arizona. Through PCSAC and this training, we hope to educate the public as to the dangerous consequences of this drug, the potential criminal penalties one faces for possession and use, and ways we use to combat this issue.”
For more information, contact Jim Knupp at 520.866.6573 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.