Steamboat Springs Routt County’s Grand Futures Prevention Coalition will use a $5,000 grant it received last year from the American Medical Association and funds from the Colorado Department of Behavioral Health to launch a campaign intended to curb prescription drug abuse in the Yampa Valley.
Grand Futures Routt County Director Kate Elkins said Tuesday that the nonprofit next month will start the social marketing campaign that will use posters and pamphlets to educate the public about proper ways to store and safeguard prescription drugs.
According to a Healthy Kids Colorado survey of Steamboat Springs High School students conducted in 2009-10, 24 percent of students said they had taken a prescription drug — including painkillers, stimulants and depressants — at least once without a doctor’s prescription.
“What we are really trying to do with this campaign is change a behavior,” Elkins said. “Our most recent community survey shows that a lot of parents aren’t sure how to properly dispose of prescription drugs or safeguard them in their homes.”
The Healthy Kids Colorado survey also showed prescription drug abuse in Routt County has decreased in recent years. Elkins said the drop likely could be attributed to national campaigns focused on preventing abuse.
Elkins also said a parent survey conducted by Grand Futures last year showed prescription drug rules were discussed less frequently by parents than the dangers of alcohol, tobacco and marijuana use.
Elkins said she hopes the campaign ultimately changes that.
“We have been doing a lot of alcohol and marijuana prevention work, but prescription drugs are something we haven’t really explored before,” Elkins said.
She said students in a Steamboat Springs High School Leadership class are working with the nonprofit to develop the pamphlets warning about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.
Grand Futures also is partnering with Yampa Valley Medical Center, the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, Northwest Graphics and the Steamboat Springs Safeway pharmacy during the campaign that Elkins said would last about a year.
Safeway pharmacy manager Casey Superchi said pharmacists at her store would include informational pamphlets created by Grand Futures in their prescription bags that contain controlled substances, including painkillers and sleep aids that are more commonly abused by teens.
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com.