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LORI REESOR & KEN VEIN: Join Grand Forks, UND’s vigorous response to drug abuse

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LORI REESOR & KEN VEIN: Join Grand Forks, UND’s vigorous response to drug abuse
Grand Forks North Dakota 375 2nd Ave. N. 58203

GRAND FORKS — As co-chairs of the Campus Community Committee on High Risk Alcohol Use, we wanted to share additional information in connection with the recent story about the use of prescription drugs and alcohol (“Deadly duo,” Page A1, March 2).

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As we strive to curb non-medical use of prescription drugs in our community and intervene to provide counseling and support to address this addiction, it’s also important to celebrate the fact that the vast majority of UND students — more than 97 percent, according to the 2012 UND Core Alcohol and Other Drug Survey — are not participating in this dangerous and risky behavior.

Thankfully, most students are smart enough not to engage in illegal, non-medical use of prescription drugs, and they are aware of the increased dangers of mixing alcohol with medications such as Adderall.

Some people have legitimate medical needs for Adderall for treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorders. UND Student Health Services does not issue prescriptions until a student has been thoroughly assessed and his or her diagnosis has been confirmed.

Those who get prescriptions are warned of the dangers of mixing the drugs with alcohol and the consequences of sharing prescriptions with others, which is a felony.

UND has an alcohol and other drug prevention program, in which student peer educators reach out to help other students learn about the negative consequences associated with high-risk alcohol and other drug use. The peers have implemented a variety of creative campaigns this year to warn students of the dangers of alcohol and other drug abuse.

UND also has alcohol and other drug counseling and support groups available to students through the University Counseling Center. Law enforcement officials, both on campus and in the community, work tirelessly to intervene, hold criminals accountable and cut off the supply of illegal drugs.

In addition to these efforts, the UND Alcohol and Other Drugs Committee, the Grand Forks Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition and the Campus Community Committee for High Risk Alcohol Use, along with other individuals and groups, are working collectively to create a healthier and safer campus and community.

As co-chairs of the Campus Community Committee on High Risk Alcohol Use, we’d like to invite everyone in our community to work together to create a more vibrant community that supports positive choices, including use of medications only as prescribed and consumption of alcohol in moderation, if at all.

Each of us as individuals can make a difference in many important ways. Those of us who are parents can regularly communicate to our children about the dangers of alcohol and drugs, including non-medical use of prescription drugs. We all can role-model healthy behaviors and build relationships with children, teens, young adults and our peers to engage them and offer support and guidance.

City and state leaders can pass laws and policies to help promote safety, wellbeing, health and the quality of life.

The Campus Community Committee on High Risk Alcohol Use currently is working on four initiatives including a social host ordinance, which would help hold those who provide alcohol to minors accountable for their actions; regulation of happy hours and drink specials; enhanced enforcement and legislative initiatives; and education and awareness campaigns.

We will need community conversation and broad support for any of these efforts to move forward, and we encourage Herald readers to get involved.

Readers can follow our efforts on the web at und.edu/health-wellness/ccc-high-risk-alcohol/.

Together, we can make this a healthier and safer community for all.

Reesor is UND’s vice president for student affairs. Vein is a member of the Grand Forks City Council.

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