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Campaign in Mt. Lebanon targets prescription drug addiction

| Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, 10:45 a.m.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Kelly Fraasch, Commisioner of Mount Lebanon Municipality listens to speakers talk about a newly formed partnership called SAFE Lebo which is devoted to reducing the rate of prescription drug abuse (before it turns into abuse of illegal street drugs) and promoting the proper disposal of prescription drugs, at the Mt. Lebanon Public Safety Center, Wednesday.

Mt. Lebanon kicked off a campaign on Wednesday to get old or unwanted prescription drugs out of people's homes, in an effort to stop addiction problems that can stem from prescription drug abuse.

The Stop Addiction for Everyone campaign is the first in the South Hills.

“There is a false pretense people have that prescription drugs, because they come from a doctor or pharmacist, are safer than street drugs,” said Lilly Brindle, of Gateway Rehabilitation Center. “They can be even more potent.”

Posters will be distributed to businesses and schools showing the risks of prescription drugs that are unsecured or abused, highlighting thefts and drug-related crimes, the risk of accidental overdoses and the slide from prescription abuse to street drugs such as heroin.

The posters carry the tagline, “Your prescription meds can be someone else's problem” and direct people to take unwanted or expired drugs to a secure drop-box in the lower level vestibule of the Mt. Lebanon Public Safety Building, off Shady Drive near its intersection with Washington Road.

Funded by Pennsylvania American Water, the box is similar to 80 boxes installed by Penn American's sister company in Illinois, said Josephine Posti, a spokeswoman for the company, school board member and co-founder of the drug task force with municipal Commissioner Kelly Fraasch.

The box will be monitored by police and frequently emptied, with the collected drugs safely disposed of by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration or taken to an incinerator, police spokesman Lt. Aaron Lauth said.

A public service announcement, which shows a child raiding a medicine cabinet while a voiceover warns of the dangers of drug abuse and directs people to the drop-box, will begin airing on local cable access channels, Posti said.

Other information about the campaign and efforts by the task force of municipal, school, police, health and corporate partners can be found at mtlebanon.org/safe.

Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or msantoni@tribweb.com.

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