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Summit Tackles 'Epidemic Levels' of Prescription Drug Abuse, Addiction

The event at Washington & Jefferson College later this month includes to sessions and is free to the public.

U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton said prescription drug abuse and addiction in Western Pennsylvania, and across the country, “is at epidemic levels”—and this week announced details of a summit slated for later this month that aims to combat the trend.

The Western Pennsylvania Prescription Drug Abuse Summit is sponsored by the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General, and will include two free programs.

Both programs will be held on Wednesday, June 27, 2012, at Washington & Jefferson College's Olin Fine Arts Center, located at 285 E. Wheeling St. in the City of Washington.

"This Summit will bring together medical and mental health professionals, law enforcement, educators and concerned citizens to discuss and confront all aspects of this problem," Hickton said in a statement. "Our objectives are to bring awareness; to offer education; and to foster new ideas."

The afternoon session from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. focuses on combating prescription drug abuse. Industry professionals will examine the breadth and severity of the prescription drug problem and feature panel discussions led by experts in health care, mental health, addiction and law enforcement who will share their experiences with the damaging effects of prescription drug abuse and trafficking.

To register for the afternoon session, email your name, title, place of employment and phone number to USAPAWRxDrugAbuseSummit@usdoj.gov.

The evening session will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and will focus on what participants can do to protect themselves, their family and friends from the dangers of prescription drug abuse.

This session will help parents, educators and concerned citizens understand the effect of prescription drugs on the brain and society. Participants will also hear first-hand accounts from those who have experienced the tragedy of prescription pill addiction.

The evening session also features a drug take-back program—similar to one held in recently.

DEA Agents will be on-site to collect expired, unused or unwanted prescription medications in an attempt to keep them out of rivers, landfills and abuser's hands. The service is free and anonymous.

To register for the evening session, call 412-894-7516 and follow the instructions.

Both sessions are free and open to the public. Registration is strongly encouraged.

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