Press Releases

National Public Radio:

Coalition Chair Person Anne McGrath, Therapist Dr. Suzanne Button, and Pediatrician Dr. David Fenner on NPR’s Round Table 1/18/12 discussing the Coalition and screening of the documentary film, Race to Nowhere, with Joe Donahue.

Click link to listen:  http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/wamc/news.newsmain?action=article&ARTICLE_ID=1894971

DEA HOLDING SECOND NATIONWIDE MEDICATION TAKE-BACK DAY ON APRIL 30TH, 2011

RHINEBECK, NY– This spring, the Drug Enforcement Administration and its national and community partners will give the public another opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription and over-the-counter drugs.  On Saturday, April 30th, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the DEA and its partners will hold their second National Medication Take-Back Day at sites nationwide.  The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

Last September, Americans turned in over 242,000 pounds—121 tons—of prescription drugs at nearly 4,100 sites operated by more than 3,000 of the DEA’s state and local law enforcement partners.  The agency hopes to collect even more this spring.

The Community Coalition for Rhinebeck Youth, or CC4RY, has registered with the DEA to establish a drop off location at Northern Dutchess Hospital, 6511 Springbrook Avenue in Rhinebeck.  Enter through the old main entrance and a conference room on the right will host the Take-Back. All members of the public are strongly encouraged to collect their unused, expired, or otherwise unnecessary prescription and/or over-the-counter medications and bring them to the hospital drop off site for free and anonymous environmentally safe disposal.  Rhinebeck Village Police have joined CC4RY in the initiative to provide this public service in the hopes of increasing the community’s positive influence on the health and safety of its young people.

Nationwide data indicates that new users of prescription drugs have caught up with new users of marijuana, and next to marijuana, the most common drugs teens abuse are prescription medications. Nationally, one in five teens (4.5 million) has abused Rx drugs. One in three teens report knowing someone who abuses prescription drugs. Prescription drugs are perceived as safer than “street drugs” because they are manufactured by pharmaceutical companies and not in someone’s basement. In addition, there is a false sense of security in experimenting with them because doctors prescribe them.  Unfortunately, when taken by someone other than the patient for whom they were prescribed, or when they are misused or abused, they can be just as dangerous, if not more so, than illicit drugs, especially when taken with alcohol or other drugs.

Many parents are not aware that commonly prescribed medications and over-the-counter products are being abused to get high, or stolen from their home medicine cabinets and sold to others for their recreational use.  Some do not consider the possibility that their unused medicines could get into the wrong hands, and many do not know how to properly dispose of old medicines. Grandparents’ medicine cabinets are an enormous danger zone as well.  People think it’s safe to keep those extra pills and products in their medicine cabinets, but they can be deadly.  Any supplies of medications should be inventoried so the owner can keep track of the number of pills remaining in the bottle at all times.

The Medication Take-Back initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue.  Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse.  Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high–more Americans currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, hallucinogens, and heroin combined, according to the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.  Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.

“The overwhelming public response to DEA’s first nationwide Take-Back event last fall not only rid homes of potentially harmful prescription drugs, but was an unprecedented opportunity to educate everyone about the growing prescription drug abuse problem,”  said DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart.  “Studies have shown that, for many, prescription drugs are the very first drugs they abuse—and all too often they aren’t the last.  That is why we are committed to helping Americans keep their homes safe by ridding their medicine cabinets of expired, unused, and unwanted drugs.”

“I encourage every American to take advantage of this valuable opportunity to safely dispose of unused, un-needed, or expired prescription drugs,” said Gil Kerlikowkse, Director of National Drug Control Policy.  “Preventing these readily available and potentially deadly drugs from being diverted and misused is something each and every one of us can do to help reduce the epidemic of prescription drug abuse that is harming so many Americans.”

The public can find a nearby collection site by visiting www.dea.gov, clicking on the “Got Drugs?” icon, and following the links to a database, where they enter their zip code.

The Community Coalition for Rhinebeck Youth is proud to partner with the DEA, Northern Dutchess Hospital, and Rhinebeck Village Police in this effort to help keep Rhinebeck safe for its youth.  For more information about the Community Coalition for Rhinebeck Youth, please visit their website at www.rhinebeckyouth.org. They welcome all members of the greater community to stop by between 10am and 2pm on April 30th to safely, quickly, and anonymously dispose of the medications in their homes that they no longer need.

First Annual Rhinebeck Leadership Event

Contact:          Anne McGrath, Community Coalition for Rhinebeck Youth Steering Committee Representative

Phone:             917-887-2189, Email:              cc4ry@gmail.com

February 22, 2010–  Rhinebeck, New York – The Community Coalition for Rhinebeck Youth, a community based grass roots organization formed by residents in order to…. recently hosted a forum that brought community leaders together to confront underage alcohol, drugs, and use of other illegal substances in the greater Rhinebeck community.  Local leaders will met on February 20th in order to become better informed about trends in the presence and usage of drugs and alcohol in Rhinebeck and its surrounding area. The goals of the February 20th Leadership Event were to discuss available data, learn about positive initiatives in other Dutchess County communities geared to address this issue, and to lay the foundation for a community-wide acknowledgment of the threat that the presence and underage use of alcohol and other illegal substances poses to the health and safety of Rhinebeck youth.  The Community Coalition believes that promoting collaborative discussion with Community Leaders who share a sustained interest in addressing the problem together is the next logical step in opening a dialog with the community as a whole.

Participants in the Leadership Event included elected officials representing the Town and Village of Rhinebeck, law enforcement agencies, the Rhinebeck Central School District, the Chamber of Commerce, the Dutchess County Fairgrounds, local service organizations, area hospitals, political party leaders, a variety of local clubs and faith based organizations.  The group reviewed demographic trends and best practices from similar communities in taking aim at reducing the risky behavior choices by encouraging youth to choose healthier and safer options.

The Coalition, initiated by community members and parents who reached out to the Rhinebeck Central School District and asked them to join in the collaborative discussion, has been meeting monthly since last spring. Together, they have gathered information, spoken with experts in the area, and discussed innovative solutions and preventative measures proven effective by similar Coalitions in place in nearby communities.

Anne McGrath, a Coalition member and Rhinebeck parent was shocked to discover the easy accessibility of such highly addictive drugs as heroin, hallucinogens, and Ecstasy, adding that “Parents either don’t understand that the drugs available today are more potent and potentially addictive than those of the past, or they don’t believe their child(ren) will experiment.”

McGrath said, “The Community Coalition for Rhinebeck Youth is currently testing the waters to see if our community is ready to address this problem. We know there have been several overdoses in our surrounding communities with some recent incidents having been fatal, such as in Red Hook and Kingston, but these tragedies are not openly discussed. Secrecy only helps perpetuate the problem. As a community, we can help empower our youth to make decisions that will positively affect their health and safety, but first we must acknowledge that the problem exists.”

McGrath further stated, “We live in a society where mind altering substances are not only tolerated, but promoted through popular culture. Our collaborative efforts towards addressing this problem must be approached in a way that involves the full participation of students, if we are to be effective.”

The Community Coalition for Rhinebeck Youth plans to use grass roots community organizing strategies to support teens and families in making good decisions and reduce the harm associated with illegal and underage substance use. According to Ms. McGrath, “We want to focus on supporting positive connections, rather than punitive measures.  There is no proof in the research to show that punishing the few who are caught will deter others.”

In the coming months, the Coalition plans to hold a Town Hall meeting and invite community members to raise awareness of this issue, gather existing resources, facilitate education and community awareness beyond that which is currently provided through the school’s curriculum and support programs, and create more opportunities for positive and healthy activities that Rhinebeck youth can enjoy locally.  They hope parents, students, community leaders, local business owners, and residents will join their efforts in the coming months.

If you are interested in the work of the Community Coalition for Rhinebeck Youth, or you seek any additional information, please contact Anne McGrath @ cc4ry@gmail.com.

Rhinebeck Citizens Promote Health and Safety of Youth

By Taking Aim At Underage Alcohol, Drugs, and Destructive Decisions

June 1, 2010 – Rhinebeck, New York… For the past year, the Community Coalition for Rhinebeck Youth, or CC4RY, has been gathering information about the presence and use of illegal substances in and around Rhinebeck, and the resulting dangerous impacts on the health and safety of its community’s young people. Soon after the group formed, Rhinebeck Central School District representatives were invited to join them in order to bridge communication and develop a united front in approaching this topic through data driven strategies and collaboration with the greater community.  Rhinebeck’s Coalition is one of many similar groups across the country, including many suburbs and towns throughout Dutchess County.

CC4RY has met with area experts, to learn about local trends and positive initiatives taken by similar citizens’ groups in area communities.  Open communication and recognition of the problem is key, Coalition Steering Committee members say, as is a sustained commitment on the part of community leaders. The group’s focus on this issue is driven by their mission to engage the community in promoting healthy choices and risk avoidance among youth through community awareness, education of parents and families, support services, increased opportunities for positive connections, and safe recreational alternatives.

Earlier this year, the Community Coalition for Rhinebeck Youth brought together more than 30 local Community Leaders to hear from medical, law enforcement, and other professionals about trends in drug and alcohol use in Rhinebeck and the surrounding communities. The goals of this Leadership Event included discussing available data; developing a plan for educating parents, teens, and families with current facts regarding drug and alcohol use; and promoting collaborative discussion with others who are interested in addressing the problem together. Three areas were identified as immediate needs for the group to address including: parent education, community networking, and an acknowledgment of the need for a shift in the community’s culture relative to open dialog about the problem of illegal substance use.

Through a grant from the Dutchess County Youth Bureau, the Rhinebeck Central School District recently joined other county school districts in administering a survey on the needs, attitudes, and behaviors of its students in grades 8, 10, and 12 this month.  Analysis of the anonymous and confidential student responses will provide educators with data relative to students’ perceptions of school and community life, as well as their participation in a wide range of risky behaviors.  Rhinebeck’s participation in the administration of the survey was part of a larger data gathering initiative by the Dutchess County Youth Bureau to obtain feedback from students across the County. Parents were given the option of having their children not participate in the survey.  Rhinebeck Central School District officials will be provided with a report of the data gathered and analyzed specific to responses provided by its students, as well as aggregate data reflecting responses provided by all students in the County who participated.

In speaking with other community members Anne McGrath, Coalition President and Rhinebeck parent, was shocked to discover the easy access in our area to such highly addictive drugs as heroin, hallucinogens, and ecstasy, adding that, “Parents either don’t understand that the drugs available today are more potent and potentially addictive than those of the past, or they don’t believe their child(ren) will experiment.”  She further shared that a Rhinebeck High School student, who asked to remain anonymous, said that it’s easier to get drugs than alcohol, because you don’t need a fake ID to get the drugs.

McGrath said, “The Community Coalition for Rhinebeck Youth is currently testing the waters to see if our community is ready to address this problem. Secrecy only helps perpetuate the problem. As a community, we can help empower our youth to make decisions that will positively affect their health and safety, but first we must acknowledge that the problem exists.”

The Community Coalition for Rhinebeck Youth is utilizing grass roots community organizing strategies to support teens and families in making good decisions with a goal of reducing the harm associated with illegal and underage substance use. According to Ms. McGrath, “We want to focus on supporting positive connections, and education, while building community support for helping our youth to develop healthy decision making skills that will positively impact every aspect of their futures.”

All parents, teens, and interested community members are invited to attend the Coalition’s Town Hall Meeting on June 12th from 10AM – 12PM in the Parish Hall of the Church of the Messiah on Montgomery Street in Rhinebeck.  The group’s goal for this meeting is to provide information and a panel of guest speakers representing local law enforcement agencies; Pierette Farber, LMHC, Associate Director Regional Services, Liberty Behavioral Management, Arms Acres; the Executive Director of the Council on Addiction, Prevention, and Education from a County perspective; a local physician who will discuss the negative health implications on the brain due to drug use; a local psychiatrist who will share general relevant information about current substance use trends in her patient population; and a parent who will share her family’s personal experience with this problem here in Rhinebeck.

Anyone interested in attending the June 12th Town Hall Meeting, or learning more about the work of the Community Coalition for Rhinebeck Youth, is encouraged to please email them at CC4RBKY@gmail.com.

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