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Sun, Jan. 19

MATFORCE sponsors training on Prescription Monitoring System

The epidemic of prescription drug abuse is a reality facing the nation, the community and its youth.

Prescription painkillers now result in more accidental drug overdoses than cocaine and heroin combined, according to the CDC.

The Arizona Youth Survey shows Yavapai County youth are abusing these drugs at an alarming rate - higher than state and national averages. MATFORCE is spearheading numerous projects to help curb this epidemic.

One such project is encouraging use of the Arizona Prescription Monitoring System. When a physician or pharmacist suspects a patient may be "doctor shopping" and receiving excessive amounts of pills such as painkillers, they can access the state system to view the patient's prescription record.

Dean Wright, R. Ph., of the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy, will be leading a training session on Sept. 13 in Prescott, geared toward helping physicians, pharmacists and law enforcement learn how to effectively use this system.

Mr. Wright serves as Director of Arizona's Prescription Monitoring Program. He notes that fewer than 12 percent of pharmacists and prescribing practitioners currently access the system.

This no-cost training will be Sept. 13 at the Prescott Valley Library, Crystal Room, 3rd Floor, 7401 E. Civic Circle in Prescott Valley.

The session for law enforcement will be from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and the session for physicians and pharmacists will be from 1 to 2:30 p.m. To register call the MATFORCE office at 708-0100 or send an email to Registration deadline is Sept. 8.

Doug Bartosh, MATFORCE Co-Chair and Cottonwood City Manager, said, "Reducing prescription drug abuse is our top priority. It will take a combined effort from everyone within our community to make a difference, including individuals, organizations, schools, government, law enforcement and the medical community."

MATFORCE has titled their grass-roots campaign "Prescription Drug Abuse: Who's Counting?" The prescription drug abuse epidemic has led to the countless loss of lives, jobs, families and health. For more information visit the organization's website

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