By Nancy Kelly
A community meeting has been planned to find “A Better Path Forward” for those impacted by prescription drug abuse.
Kings West MLA Leo Glavine is hosting the meeting in response to public questions and concerns swirling around the use of Methadone since the June 20 death of Greenwood resident Katanna MacDonald. Her death is being attributed to an overdose caused by unprescribed use of Methadone.
“The community is grieving the loss of another young person and I am responding to all the questions I have fielded recently,” said Glavine.
“People want to know how Methadone works, how does it get on the streets and how can we prevent it from being diverted to illegal use.”
Glavine plans to have a pharmacist and a representative of the district health authority on hand to explain how Methadone is used in the treatment of opiate addiction.
“The district health authority is doing everything it can to have it administered in the safest way possible,” Glavine said.
“But there are still many questions and perhaps other options that need to be looked at.”
Glavine would like to see stricter dispensing protocols for prescription drugs, particularly those used in pain management.
Amy Graves, whose younger brother, Josh, died from an accidental overdose of alcohol and the prescription pain killer Dilaudid at a house party in March 2011, will also be in attendance.
Graves, who created her own campaign, Get Prescription Drugs off the Street, to raise awareness of the prescription drug problem, is encouraging “constructive discussion to deal with this issue.” Her recent Facebook message stressed “the general public is not educated on the dangers of these drugs when their doctors start them on it.”
Like Glavine, Graves continues to advocate stricter controls around the prescribing and dispensing of narcotics and substances used in treating addiction.
Also attending will be friends Eric Schofield and Emma Schofield, who have taken to Facebook to start a campaign to educate the community about Methadone use.
“I applaud what these young people are doing,” said Glavine, adding the meeting will give the pair an opportunity to “connect directly with the community and continue their cause in memory of Katanna.”
Glavine has hosted and taken part in four similar community meetings to date, which he credits for awakening the Department of Health to the “life and death” problems associated with prescription drug abuse.
He sees value in giving people an opportunity to tell their stories.
“We need to hear from others and connect to have a better way going forward.
Continuing to raise awareness and educate people about this issue is critical,” said Glavine.
The meeting will take place at the Kingston fire hall and gets underway July 5 at 7 p.m.