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Problem of prescription drugs topic of Grand Island forum

by jmaloni
Fri, Apr 26th 2013 02:10 pm
Dale Kasprzyk of the Drug Enforcement Agency speaks to about 50 people in attendance at a Conversation with the Community Tuesday night at the Grand Island firehall. (photo by Larry Austin)
Dale Kasprzyk of the Drug Enforcement Agency speaks to about 50 people in attendance at a Conversation with the Community Tuesday night at the Grand Island firehall. (photo by Larry Austin)

Grand Island is making progress on what is called a prescription drug problem on the Island.

About 50 people attended a forum called a "Conversation with the Community," hosted by One Island, One Team, One Dream, to be Drug Free" April 16 at the Grand Island firehall.

Town Supervisor Mary Cooke announced to parents, youth and community stakeholders that "Very shortly we will have a dropbox for drugs in our town that can be used 24-7." Located at the Erie County Sheriff's Office and Grand Island Police substation on Whitehaven Road, the dropbox will provide the public a depository to leave prescription drugs that are no longer needed.

Panelists at the forum, moderated by Luke Moretti of WIVB-TV, included Dr. Robert Whitney, former Erie County Medical Center medical director of the Substance Abuse Unit; Dale Kasprzyk, agent in charge Buffalo DEA, Town Justice Sybil Kennedy, Grand Island High School teacher Bob Simpson, and GIHS student Kim Gacon.

Chris Pyc, a New York State Trooper assigned to be the school resource officer for the Grand Island Central School District, also spoke at the forum and called turnout at the event "awesome."

"Because back in 2004 when we did something similar in the large cafeteria of the high school we had one parent when we're talking about prescription drug abuse," Pyc said. "We are making headway, and this is proof. This is the first step as far as I'm concerned in dealing directly with the kids. If each of you takes something you learn today and pass it on to two or three other people that weren't here tonight, we're getting there."

He called the drug drop-off program a positive step that nobody thought of seven or eight years ago at a time when parents were less aware of the issue of prescription drug abuse. Over time, some of the barriers to reporting from parents are coming down, he said.

He noted that in his career he's had conversations with parents, who when they are told their child has a problem with prescription medications "they don't believe you, because a parent doesn't want to hear that."

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