Focus On Youth! Prescription Med Abuse and Misuse

Read about how aDAPT was formed, our youth prevention movement. In addition to aDAPT, parents gathered for the first time on Monday August 17, 2015, creating Parents Inspire Prevention, a parent-driven movement. Watch for more information to be shared.

In the spring of 2015, Burke Recovery received funding through SAMHSA’s Strategic Prevention Framework - Partnership for Success grant for the prevention of youth and young adult prescription medication abuse and misuse.  With support of this grant and through partnerships within the BSAN coalition, data has been collected to illustrate what prescription misuse and abuse looks like in Burke County, and particularly among youth.

The information below is data collected from local law enforcement, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s North Carolina County Health Rankings 2014, and Burke County EMS

  • Burke County led our region in drug overdose deaths (191) from 2000-2010.
  • Burke County had the 5th highest drug poisoning death rate in North Carolina in 2014.
  • Burke County EMS responded to 172 overdose calls in 2010 and responded to 210 overdose calls in 2014
  • The Burke County Sheriff estimates 90-100% of all crimes in Burke County are related to drug activity.

Below are some highlighted results of a May 2015 survey conducted of 559 Burke County young people ages 11-25.

  • 26% of teens surveyed answered yes to lifetime non-medical use of Prescription medication.
  • 80% of youth report that medication is left unlocked and accessible in their homes.
  • 44% of youth agree or have no opinion that it is safer to get high on prescription medication than street drugs.
  • Most youth obtain Rx medications by taking it from someone they live with, buying it (not from a pharmacy), or a friend or family member gave it to them.

Fortunately, the citizens of Burke County are not standing idly by while this problem continues, but rather, are taking a stand to address this problem head on through the RxEAP Task Force. RxEAP stands for Prescription Abuse/Misuse Education Awareness Prevention.

Formed by passionate members of our BSAN coalition, the RxEAP Task Force is analyzing the problem of prescription misuse and abuse and strategically taking action to reduce access to prescription medication, educate the public and youth on the dangers of prescription medications, and inform citizens on what they can do to help stop the problem.

Below are a list of current initiatives of the RxEAP Task Force. If you would like to know more about any of these items, or wish to join the Task Force contact RxEAP Task Force Coordinator Sarah Dergins at

RxEAP Task Force Initiatives:

  • Community Education- Presentations and Trainings
    • Faith Community
    • Youth
    • Medical Community
    • Local Government
    • Parents
  • Prescription Drop Box visibility, awareness and usage
    • Prescription dropboxes for unused or expired medication are located inside the Burke County Sheriff’s Office and the Valdese Police Departments.
    • Researching the addition of drop-boxes in Burke County
    • Planning spring 2016 Prescription Take Back events.
  • Youth Prevention through School Clubs and aDAPT
  • Working with prescribers on increasing usage of prescription monitoring programs.
  • Media campaign and Public Service Announcements