Since 2006, the 3D Drug Free Community Coalition has been meeting to work on making Stephens County a drug free area and for the past several months have been focusing on prescription drug awareness.

This group met on Monday afternoon at Red River Technology Center in order to discuss several agenda items pertaining to their coalition.

As of right now, the only drop boxes in Stephens County for outdated or left over prescription drugs are at the Stephens County Sheriff’s Office and the Duncan Police Department.

These boxes do get used and thanks to the coalition putting the word out there, they have been used even more.

Throughout all of last year, the box at the Sheriff’s Office got 23.5 pounds of prescriptions and the Police Department got 49.5 pounds.

The most recent reports for this year show that so far, the Sheriff’s Office has received 24.5 pounds and the Police Department has gotten 54.5 pounds.

“That’s only half of the year and those are great numbers,”  said Kim Booker, prevention specialist with the Wichita Mountains Prevention Network. “This is exciting and shows that our efforts have really worked.”

The coalition is also working on getting another drop box in the county and have spoken to Jimmy Williams, police chief in Marlow, about putting one in at the Marlow Police Department.

“He’s very much for it and has an interest in doing that,” said Pat Troutman, coalition member.

In 2011 at Duncan Regional Hospital, there were a total of 113 emergency room prescription drug related incidents, 206 out patient incidents and six observation incidents.

“That is just at the Duncan hospital for prescription drugs,” Troutman said. “It really brings home that we have a problem here.”

There are about 189 physicians and pharmacists within Stephens County who can prescribe drugs to patients. Booker said the WMPN is working on special training to these providers about what they can do to lower these incident numbers.

They are shooting for August for this to take place in Comanche County for providers in Comanche and Stephens Counties.

Next month’s meeting, which is set for July 9, will feature a Power Point presentation led by Booker and the WMPN.  It covers training for the coalition with information about prescription drug abuse.

In addition to those agenda items, the coalition went over tentative bylaws for their group.

While there is still work to be done, they feel they are headed in the right direction.

All their meetings are open to the public and Troutman wanted to remind everyone that they are still in need of officers.

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