I read with great sadness the article in the Nov. 9 edition of The Leader-Herald about the increase of alcohol- and drug-related deaths in Fulton County. According to the county coroner's office, drug-related deaths investigated by the coroners increased from three in 2010, to seven in 2011, to 16 in 2012.
Unfortunately, what we are seeing in Fulton County mirrors what is happening nationally. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug-overdose death rates in the United States have more than tripled since 1990 and have never been higher. According to the CDC, 100 people die from drug overdoses every day in the United States. Most of these deaths are caused by prescription medications. The Trust for America's Health reports that in 29 states, drug overdoses kill more people than automobile crashes.
We can each do our part to help stop and reverse this alarming trend.
Lock up your prescription medications so they do not fall into the wrong hands. Lock boxes are available from your local pharmacy for $20.
Properly discard your old, unused, unwanted or expired medications (don't flush them) or turn them in to your local law-enforcement officials during a drug take-back day.
If you, a friend or a loved one suffers from alcohol or other drug addiction, seek professional help. Help comes in many forms, such as self-help, 12-step groups like NA and AA, medication or other assistance from your physician, outpatient and inpatient treatment programs, and/or help from your clergy or therapist specializing in addiction issues.
Set a good example for our youth by showing them that we can have fun and enjoy celebrations without the use of alcohol.
Set a good and safe example for our youth by never operating any motorized vehicle (that includes cars, motorcycles, ATVs, boats and snowmobiles) under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
Let's be able to look back at the end of next year and see that there have been no alcohol- and drug- related deaths in Fulton County.
If you would like more information, please call the HFM Prevention Council at 736-8188 or the New York State Helpline at 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369).
ANN BRENNAN RHODES
HFM Prevention Council