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Health Column: PBMC hosting Substance Abuse Awareness Day

08/07/2016 12:00 PM |

In a region where opiate addiction continues to worsen, there is no such thing as too much awareness when it comes to educating the public about the dangers of substance abuse.

With that in mind, Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead has opted to host a Substance Abuse Awareness Day Saturday, Aug. 13, from 10 a.m. to noon, in its main lobby. The free event will consist of question-and-answer panels with Riverhead Town police officers and medical professionals, who will address topics such as prevention, suspicion, addiction and rehabilitation. A training session for those interested in learning how to administer Narcan, a drug used to help reverse overdoses, will also be provided around 11:15 a.m.

“We’re happy to host an event surrounding opiate-specific discussions on all of these topics, considering the crisis that Long Island is facing,” said Lauren Jacobsen, PBMC’s manager of public relations and community outreach.

Riverhead Community Coalition for Safe and Drug-Free Youth, a nonprofit dedicated to preventing drug and alcohol abuse, is collaborating with the hospital on the event, which Ms. Jacobsen said is the first of its kind to be held at the facility in “a long time.”

“I think it’s exciting that we’re getting together with all of our community partners — that we’re targeting our community specifically,” she said.

During the event, Kelly Miloski, coordinator at the Riverhead coalition, will give a lecture about preventing substance abuse. One of the primary ways this can be achieved, she said, is by properly disposing of unused or unwanted prescription medication.

“The No. 1 place for kids to try prescription drugs for the first time is through someone’s medicine cabinet,” said Ms. Miloski, who encourages people to dispose of medication at the dropoff box in the lobby at the Riverhead Town Police Department. In the past two years, she said, “nearly 2,000 pounds” have been collected.

Ms. Miloski wants community members to know her coalition is doing everything it can to help tackle the local substance abuse problem. She hopes Substance Abuse Awareness Day is a way of demonstrating that commitment.

“Hopefully, people will come out and we can assure them that we’re working on this issue,” she said.

Registration for PBMC’s Substance Abuse Awareness Day is encouraged but not required. To reserve your spot, call Ms. Jacobsen at 631-548-6827.

Have a health column idea for Rachel Young? Email her at [email protected].

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