Underage drinking, prescription drug misuse and abuse, other drug abuse, drinking and driving, and driving under the influence of other drugs in Pinellas County have all been an ongoing concern among local community agencies. Indicator data will be used to assist local agencies in creating new policies regarding alcohol and drugs in the County as well as to support efforts of local law enforcement and social services agencies.
LiveFree! is currently working to identify where youth are gaining access to alcohol, prescription drugs and other drugs and implementing methods to change community norms to eliminate this access. Specific activities include the following: a Last Use Survey that is being conducted at the Pinellas Juvenile Assessment Center and the Juvenile Addiction Receiving Facility, which includes questions on prescription drug misuse and abuse; Compliance Checks in the City of Pinellas Park; the Rewards and Reminders Program, which rewards businesses that did the right thing and were not in violation of any liquor laws, participation in Be the Wall, a statewide campaign, Operation Medicine Cabinet and support for Prescription Drug Drop Off Containers, and maintaining a Speakers Bureau charged with providing prevention education messages in our community.
- The amount of prescription drugs detected by the Medical Examiner and reported in toxicology reports (e.g., Hydrocodone, Oxycodone and Methadone) indicates that non-medical use of prescription drugs is increasing at an alarming rate. A greater emphasis on prevention education and outreach on the harmful effects of prescription drugs is needed throughout the County.
- Pinellas County children and newborns are feeling the effects of the prescription drug epidemic in Pinellas County. Newborns who are going through withdrawal from drugs has increased substantially over the past 2 years (34.2%), and youth removed from the home due to substance misuse and abuse has increased over the past 2 years as well (20.8%).
- Alcohol use among youth is still the most prevalent drug of use in Pinellas County, which has a higher rate than statewide averages.