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Mangano Launches New Prevention Efforts In The Wake Of Prescription Drug Epidemic

In the wake of recent tragedies related to the prescription drug abuse throughout Long Island, Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano and the Nassau County Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse Prevention Task Force today announced a prescription drug aversion campaign to assist pharmacists – often the last line of defense between the drug and the user and those often in the most danger from desperate drug seekers.

“Those suffering from prescription drug addiction become desperate and find many ways to get the drug; however, pharmacists can better protect themselves and care for their patients through preventative measures that avert drug diversion,” said County Executive Mangano. “The schemes, techniques and sophistication of drug abusers are continually changing and becoming harder to detect, especially with the rapid changes in technology being used to create false prescriptions. Together, all levels of government must work to address this growing prescription drug epidemic.”

This week, County Executive Mangano will be sending letters to all licensed pharmacists in Nassau County, containing tips for pharmacists’ safety and listing treatment resources for drug addicts seeking recovery. Among the red flags for pharmacists, Mangano noted, are prescription holders who offer to pay cash or who are strangers to the pharmacy, present an address from outside the area and only request Narcotics.

“In 2010, 75 Nassau residents died as a result of prescription Opiates – that’s an average of more than one a week,” Mangano said. “And 258 more residents had these Opiates in their system when they died of other causes. When it comes to our sons, daughters, siblings and friends – one death from these drugs is too many.”

The Nassau County Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse Prevention Task Force, created last year after the Medford Pharmacy tragedy, consists of officials from the areas of treatment, recovery, law enforcement, pharmaceutical, medical, mental health and social services. The group is charged with crafting recommendations for County Executive Mangano to execute on the County level as well as legislative initiatives for the State Legislature’s consideration. Recommendations will be presented to the County Executive by the end of February.

Attached are County Executive Mangano’s letter and the tips – compiled in conjunction with various private and chain-store pharmacists and the local pharmacy association – to assist pharmacists in averting prescription drug abuse.