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Program targets abuse of ‘scripts

“He gets his music online. He gets his drugs from his mother’s purse.”

That’s the message of a new billboard campaign that’s part of the Covington County Children’s Policy Council’s plan to heighten the awareness of prescription drug abuse problems.

Donna Belcher Barber (center) project officer for the Covington County Children’s Policy Council Drug Free Community grant, visited Andalusia Friday to learn more about how the CPC is using the grant funds. She is shown here with AHS Peer Helpers and sponsor Charlotte Spurlin.

Kellie Holland, program director, said that’s just one part of the effort funded by a five-year Drug Free Community grant. The new billboard went up just in time for grant project officer Donna Belcher Barber, who visited from Connecticut on Friday, to see.

Because the CPC sees prescription drug abuse as one of the major problems it should attack, the organization has implemented the awareness campaign and has set a “Take Back Prescription Pills” event for Oct. 14.

Holland explained that unused prescription drugs can become an attractive nuisance for those who are addicted to them. Because studies also have found traces of flushed pills in the water supply, the CPC has organized a way to have the bills incinerated.

The CPC, with the assistance of the Drug Task Force, will accept unused pills in the parking lot of Darby’s Village Pharmacy from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Thurs., Oct. 14. No questions will be asked and no identification will be required.

Both Dr. Gil Holland and Dr. Charles Eldridge are participating in the event.

After the event, Holland said, a drop-off box will be set up with the Covington County Sheriff’s Department.

“The rules are very strict,” she said. “We actually have to video the incineration.”

The $124,000 Drug Free Community Grant also is used to fund the county’s peer helper program, in which peer helper teams have been established at each of the county’s high schools. The CPC also will implement 59 Minutes, a program designed to deter teens from drinking and driving, in cooperation with the Andalusia Police Department at its law enforcement new training facility in February 2011.