Police seminar focuses on prescription drug abuse

Published: Wednesday, January 20, 2010 at 5:31 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 20, 2010 at 5:31 p.m.

Law enforcement officers from across North Central Florida attended an educational seminar in Chiefland Tuesday to learn how to fight illegal trafficking and abuse of prescription medications.

The seminar was hosted by the Florida Department of Children and Families' Circuit 8 Child Protective Investigations program and the Levy County Sheriff's Office, with additional educational support provided by pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma.

About 42 officers attended.

"The rate of increase in the abuse of these types of medications is alarming," said Steve Lampros, DCF child protective investigations supervisor. "When we respond to abuse reports, unfortunately, we're seeing more parents who are abusing prescription drugs, which can put children at risk."

The session was led by Landon Gibbs and Ed Cartwright from Purdue Pharma's law enforcement liaison and education department. Gibbs and Cartwright each have close to 30 years of law enforcement experience, including investigating the illegal trafficking of prescription medications. The session covered the types of medications that are targets for theft, illegal sale and abuse, common methods of diverting prescription medications and the difference between lawful and unlawful prescribing by health care professionals.

"These medications have a legitimate purpose when used as directed," Gibbs said. "However, abusing prescription medications can have dangerous and even deadly consequences and can make it harder for people who need these medications to get them."

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