Indian River County drug experts discuss drug abuse problems

By Ed Bierschenk Posted March 20, 2013 at 10:49 p.m. in part from Indian River Press Journal.

Vero Beach – Representatives of various public and private bodies came together Wednesday to discuss the problem of drug abuse among youth and adults in Indian River County.

The Indian River County Drug Abuse Symposium at the Indian River County Administration Complex included speakers from the IRCSD, the Gifford Youth Activity Center and the University of Florida as well as local law enforcement agencies and treatment centers.

The prime sponsor of the event was the Hanley Center Foundation. The Hanley Center, a residential treatment center in West Palm Beach, also operates Gate Lodge Hanley Center just south of the IRMC in Vero Beach.

Hanley, which combined operations with Caron Treatment Centers last July, also hopes to open an adolescent, residential treatment center within three to five years in West Palm Beach, said Dyben. The center would treat youth between the ages of 13 and 19, he said.

The major drug problem since about 2006 has been the abuse of prescription drug medication, according to law enforcement speakers.

Children will sometimes take all types of medications that parents or grandparents leave out or don’t properly dispose of after the medications expire. Some of the pills are mixed with others, according to the Vero Beach Police Department.

There also are a wide variety of other drugs that law enforcement officials are seeing abused, including such common items as bath salts. Information about the harmful impacts of such abuse was on display at the symposium as well as where people can get help, including the 211 help line that is available 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.

“A life may be saved today,” said Indian River County Commission Chairman Joe Flescher, who noted that in addition to educating the general public the symposium was a chance for professionals in the drug abuse field to broaden their own knowledge and contacts through interactions with other professionals.

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