In response to the growing national problem of prescription drug abuse—which often leads to heroin addiction—and to several local deaths and overdoses, a new Mt. Lebanon task force has emerged. S.A.F.E. (Stop Addiction for Everyone) Lebo is a coalition of organizations and entities that have a stake in preventing drug abuse. Key sponsors are Mt. Lebanon Municipality, Mt. Lebanon Police Department, MRTSA, Mt. Lebanon School District, Mt. Lebanon Council of PTAs, St. Clair Hospital and Pennsylvania American Water.
Commissioner Kelly Fraasch and School Director Josephine Posti organized the group. The key sponsors were helped in the planning effort by Outreach Teen & Family Services, Seton-LaSalle High School, Gateway Rehabilitation, UPMC, the Salvation Army, Sojourner House, District Judge Blaise Larotonda, Penny Howe of the Allegheny County Jail, Chartiers Mental Health and Mental Retardation, Greenbriar Treatment Center, Drug and Alcohol Counselor Marty Murray, Oasis Recovery, Allegheny County Department of Human Services, the office of the Pennsylvania Attorney General, several pediatricians, and Jewish, Protestant and Catholic clergy.
The mission of S.A.F.E. is “to reduce prescription drug abuse and illegal narcotic use in Mt. Lebanon in order to improve the health and safety of our community.” The three main goals are to raise community awareness through education about the dangers of drug abuse, share resources for those seeking help, and provide a year-round opportunity to safely dispose of prescription drugs.
Pennsylvania American Water—which among other things wants to raise awareness of the problems drugs cause in the water stream when dumped in the sink or flushed down the toilet—got the ball rolling, when it funded this area’s first-ever secure, 24-hour drop-off box for unused or expired medications. The box, located in the rear lobby of the public safety center, 555 Washington Road, was unveiled at a news conference last month.
The police department will be responsible for inventorying the contents of the box and destroying the drugs. A poster campaign and a website filled with resources prepared by the municipal public information office and the school district’s communications office also was launched in September along with a public service announcement that will air on cable stations.
A S.A.F.E. Lebo forum will be held on Monday, November 18 at noon in the municipal building.
In addition to dropping unused or expired drugs at the public safety center, this month people may participate in the DEA’s National Drug Take-Back Day, Saturday, October 26, from 10 to 2 at MRTSA Headquarters on Cypress Way. For more information about S.A.F.E., call the Mt. Lebanon Public Information Office at 412-343-3780.