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Prescription and OTC Drug Abuse & Misuse


Prescription Drug Drop Off

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Prescription Drug Drop Off

Join in our efforts to prevent prescription drug abuse.  Drop off your unused or expired prescription drugs at one of the local drop boxes at the Lake Forest or Lake Bluff Police Department.  The drop boxes are located in the lobby at each police station making it possible to drop off prescriptions 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

We greatly appreciate the support of our local law enforcement in providing a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs within our communities.

Click here for more information about our Think Inside the Box prescription disposal program.



Lake County Heroin Presentation at Gorton hosted by LEAD

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The Chicago Tribune wrote an article about the February 26th Lake County Heroin presenation at Gorton

Click here to read the article.

The Truth About Heroin in Lake County – February 26th

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The Truth About Heroin in Lake County – February 26th

Lake County State’s Attorney Mike Nerheim headlines this community panel that will cover heroin education and local solutions on Wednesday, Feb 26 from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. at Gorton Community Center.

Please join LEAD in welcoming Lake County State’s Attorney Mike Nerheim, who will speak about the increased heroin situation in Lake County and what we can do as a community to create solutions.  Mr. Nerheim will present a general overview of heroin use in Lake County and then attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions of the community panel.

The community panel will consist of a Mike Nerheim, Cliff Rice (ER physician and community member), Heather Hale (Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor),  a recovering young person and a member of the Lake Forest Police Department.

The presentation will be held on Feb 26, 2014 from 7 pm -8:30 pm at Gorton Community Center.  There is no preregistration and walk-ins are welcome.  Please see the LEAD website ( or call 847-295-9075 for more information.

heroin flyer

pHARMING Effects Training – Saturday, April 13th

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pHARMING Effects Training – Saturday, April 13th

Screen Shot 2013-03-19 at 11.41.19 PMLEAD, in conjunction with Youth to Youth (Y2Y) International and the Cardinal Health Foundation, will sponsor The pHARMING Effects training on Saturday, April 13th at Gorton Community Center.  “The pHARMING Effects was created by a group of teens from central Ohio who adapted a toolkit from the Ohio State University School of Pharmacy’s Generation Rx Initiative, then transformed it into an exciting and interactive youth-led presentation.

The presentation includes:

  • A definition of prescription drug abuse and misuse
  • A discussion of the insidious nature of addiction
  • The impact of prescription drug marketing as well as tips on how to think critically about this advertising
  • Relevant statistics and strategies for teens to initiate change in their homes, schools, and communities

This is a great example of effective youth-led prevention: Teens taking relevant and accurate information, designing a presentation, then using it to educate other young people.

If you are an 8th – 12th grader, we invite you to sign up for The pHARMING Effects training on April 13th.  Please complete the online registration form below.  Space is limited, so register today!  Questions? Contact Andy Duran, Executive Director of LEAD at [email protected] or Deborahanne Reimer, Tri-District Student Assistance Program Coordinator at [email protected].

Screening of “Behind the Orange Curtain” – February 27 at 7:00 p.m.

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Screening of “Behind the Orange Curtain” – February 27 at 7:00 p.m.

Behind the Orange Curtain

Please join us for a special screening of “Behind the Orange Curtain,” a film documenting the prescription drug epidemic in Orange County, California.  Come watch the award-winning film and meet its Executive Producer, Jamison Monroe.
Register for the February 27th Screening of "Behind the Orange Curtain"
Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science
Rhoades Auditorium
3333 Green Bay Road
North Chicago, IL

Documentary screening at 7:00 p.m. and discussion to follow with:

Jamison Monroe
Executive Producer, “Behind the Orange Curtain”
Founder, Newport Academy


Andrea Barthwell
Past Deputy Director of Demand Reduction
Office of National Drug Control Policy


LEAD and SpeakUP! to Team up with North Shore University Health System

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LEAD and SpeakUP! to Team up with North Shore University Health System

LEAD and SpeakUP! are working with Cardinal Health and the North Shore University Health System to produce a series of prescription drug educational materials that will be distributed with prescriptions dispensed out of North Shore University Health System pharmacies.  More details to follow shortly.

Think Inside the Box Medication Disposal Program

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Think Inside the Box Medication Disposal Program

Rx.vert_.bannerThe Speak Up! Prevention Coalition has launched a safe and secure collection and disposal program for unused medications called Think Inside the Box. The initiative represents a collaborative effort among Speak Up! partners, including The Village of Lake Bluff, City of Lake Forest, and the Lake Bluff and Lake Forest Police Departments, as well as the Save A Star Drug Awareness Foundation of Highland Park. The program has two goals:

  1. to keep medication out of the hands of individuals who might otherwise become victims of prescription or other drug abuse
  2. to provide residents with an environmentally sound disposal method for unused prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medication.

Drug collection boxes are located in the lobbies of the Lake Bluff Police Department, 45 E. Center Street and the Lake Forest Public Safety Building at 255 W. Deerpath Road. The collection boxes are available to residents for disposal of their unwanted medication any time, day or night, seven days a week.

The following items are acceptable for collection:

  • Prescription medications
  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Pet medications

The following items are NOT acceptable for collection:

  • Needles/sharps
  • Syringes with needles
  • Thermometers
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Personal care products
  • IV bags, bloody or infectious waste
  • Liquid medicines of any kind

National studies show that 70% of youth who report abusing these drugs get the medication from friends and family, often from a home medicine cabinet.  If every household in our community takes two simple steps, we will significantly increase the safety of our youth:

  • First, reduce access to these drugs by safely disposing of unwanted medication and securing the prescription and OTC medication you keep in your home
  • Second, educate your children / grandchildren about the dangers of misusing these drugs

Many youth have the misperception that prescription and OTC drugs are safer to abuse than street drugs because they are prescribed by a doctor and/or manufactured by reputable firms.The misuse of these drugs is very dangerous, particularly because their use is often combined with alcohol or other substances.

For additional information about youth prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse, visit

For more information, contact:

LEAD/SpeakUP! Prevention Coalition
Andy Duran, Executive Director

Lake Forest Police Department                    
Deputy Chief Karl Waldorff

Lake Bluff Police Department
Deputy Chief Dave Belmonte

Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Initiatives with Cardinal Health

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Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Initiatives with Cardinal Health

In July 2012, LEAD and SpeakUP! were awarded a $15,000 grant from the Cardinal Health Foundation to fund the newly developed Prescription Drug Abuse, Misuse, and Prevention Campaign.  The abuse and misuse of prescription drugs is a significant issue in our service area. Consider the following data:

  • 19.3% of local 8th – 12th graders reported that they had misused prescription and/or over-the-counter medications in the previous 12 months. This is an increase from 15.9% in 2008. Depression, stress, anxiety, and suicide are all prevalent issues in our community. These local conditions have contributed to the increase in prescription drug abuse by youth. * Data collected from the 2010 Illinois Youth Survey.
  • In September 2012, a Youth Summit, facilitated by Ty Sells, was conducted with 100 randomly selected middle school student participants. The number one issue raised was the excessive stress and pressure to be perfect that exists among youth in our community. Additionally, 18.1% of 8th – 12th graders reported that they were depressed and 10% of 9th – 12th graders had reported that they had contemplated suicide in the past year.
  • Reported rates of prescription and/or over-the-counter drug abuse in the previous year were substantially higher for these students than those not reporting being depressed or contemplating suicide. (33% vs. 16% for those reporting being sad or hopeless and 46% vs. 18% for those seriously considering suicide).
  • Through teen focus groups and key informant interviews (law enforcement, substance abuse treatment providers, social workers), we know that teens use prescription medication as currency, trading them for their drug of choice or selling them for cash. Popular drugs abused include ADD/ADHD medications, pain killers, anti-anxiety drugs, and the like.


1. Youth Initiative

A significant portion of our program activities for the coming year will be focused on youth training. Our youth training model will include the following:

  • Send 8 teens and 2 adults to the Y2Y Summer Conference in Smithfield, RI in July. Youth workers in our community will then mentor these students throughout the year so that they will have the tools and resources available to serve as peer-to-peer mentors in their schools. Our student mentors will mentor students in 12 elementary, middle, and high schools in our community.
  • Train and empower students to contribute to prevention efforts by making presentations to local rotary clubs, businesses, congregations, parent teacher associations, schools, and city council meetings.  If you are a member of one of these organizations and would like one of our student leaders to make a presentation to your group, please contact us to schedule.
  • Facilitate the Second Annual Youth Summit, co-sponsored by Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital.  The Youth Summit will be held on September 18, 2012 with nearly 100 middle school students participating.
  • Engage youth in the creation and development of a social norms marketing strategy.
  • Engage college students in prevention efforts on our local college campuses.Our community has approximately 3,750 students in grades 6 through 12 and approximately 1,400 college students. Our goal is to reach about 30% of this total population through this initiative, making our total reach 1,125 students in grades 6 through 12 and 420 college students.

2. Social Media / Podcasts / PSA’s

As the use of social media continues to increase exponentially, we must explore how to incorporate these tools into our prevention work. Social media is fundamentally interactive which means prevention professionals and coalitions must enter into a conversation rather than a declaration. How that conversation goes has great preventative power. We must put out inquiries that allow us to listen to responses with some real intent to understand the culture. Our efforts will add another voice into the conversations about substance use which can have an impact on the culture itself. By being in the conversation, we change the conversation. We plan to engage in the conversation in the following ways:

  • Rolling out a Facebook and Twitter Strategy – We plan to quadruple (at least) our base of followers in the coming calendar year so that we can enter into conversation on the topic of prescription drug abuse and misuse.
  • Produce a Speak Up! Podcast to help Spread the Word – A quick search of current mainstream podcasts, using keywords such as drug prevention or drug use, will not yield a result more recent than 2009. In short, there is not an easy-to-find podcast with fresh content in this subject area. We plan to produce a podcast, including weekly delivery of content, that will a) increase awareness of the prescription drug abuse issues, b) increase knowledge of how to reduce access to prescription drugs, c) educate our community on the consequences/dangers of misusing our abusing prescription drugs, and d) encourage and empower people in our community to spread the word (or Speak Up) on the prescription drug abuse issue.
  • Create a Series of Local Public Service Announcements (PSA’s) – Using local celebrities and professionals, we plan to create a series of interactive and inexpensive PSA’s on the prescription drug abuse issue. These short PSA’s will be delivered via social media, local cable television, and other media outlets and will highlight the dangers and consequences of prescription drug abuse, as well as what can be done about it. Our goal is that our social media efforts will reach one-third of our community population, totaling more than 10,000 community members.

3. Collaboration with Physicians / Pharmacists

We plan to collaborate with local physicians and pharmacists to assist in our efforts to raise awareness about the prescription drug abuse issue. Our plan includes the following:

  • Tailor Generation Rx Informational Material for Local Use. These materials will contain the staggering local and national statistics on prescription drug abuse in our community. We would ask pediatricians, oral surgeons, and orthopedic surgeons to give their patients (and patients’ parents) these materials anytime a prescription is given. The materials would not only include statistics, but would also give practical suggestions about how they can become part of the prevention effort, such as keeping drugs secure and disposing of any unused medications.
  • Encourage pediatricians to have conversations with parents about the dangers of prescription drug abuse. Pediatricians talk to parents about the overall wellbeing of their children, including everything from bicycle helmets to car seats to diet. We plan to have the issue of prescription drug abuse become a part of that conversation.
  • Partner with The College of Pharmacy at Rosalind Franklin University. Rosalind Franklin University (RFU) has offered to have their experts make short presentations to community groups, or the community at-large, to prevent prescription drug abuse through awareness, knowledge, and speaking up! These presentations would be made to both teens and adults in various settings. Additionally, RFU has relationships with big-chain pharmacies and will assist as appropriate with the establishment of prevention initiatives in our own community.
  • Hospital Collaboration.  Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital, located within our city limits, is both a major funder and a member of our Speak Up! coalition. We plan to use the hospital to distribute materials and to help us partner with physicians, pharmacists, and medical offices. There are approximately 600 physicians and 300 nurses affiliated with the hospital. Our goal for the coming year is to reach 20% of these medical professionals, for a total reach of 180.

4. Medicine Disposal

Through collaboration and partnership with our local police departments, we will conduct several onsite medicine disposal days at various locations around our community to supplement our existing permanent collection program. These collections, overseen by a uniformed police officer, will take place at senior centers, local churches, and other large community events. We will publicize these drug collection dates through our various communications networks and channels, and will include this in our overall social media strategy outlined above.

Since the fall of 2010, we have successfully administered drug collection activities in our local community. Through our Think Inside the Box collection program, we have collected nearly 600 pounds of drugs. We plan to further publicize the Think Inside the Box program with ads in local newspapers, in local news media, and on local cable access channels. Our goal is to increase our collection by 30% in the next year.

5. Senior Citizens and Caregivers

Research has shown that prescription drug use and misuse education for our senior and caregiver population is essential. Our plan is to present safe prescription medicine use information as well as proper securing and disposing of prescription medication practices at Senior Living and Assisted Living residences. We will provide presentations and interactive activities to educate and raise awareness.
Planned activities with outreach to approximately 200 seniors:

  • Partners In Health Senior Lectures Series in cooperation with Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital performed quarterly.
  • Senior Center Education Activities – Dickenson Hall Senior Gatherings and Lake Forest Library Interactive Play series
  • Monthly Newsletters, PR/Media Campaigns and Community Letters.

Do you have comments or suggestions regarding our plans to respond to the prescription drug abuse issue in our community?  Contact us today to join our efforts!