Task Force Meets in Mason to Prevent Prescription Drug Abuse - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Task Force Meets in Mason to Prevent Prescription Drug Abuse

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Parents, students and law enforcement officials met at Mason High School for the second Prescription Drug Task Force meeting.

Officials say prescription drug abuse among young people is a growing concern, and they're doing something about it.

As Phil Pavona knows all too well, it can be a gateway to more dangerous substances like heroin.

"The doctor there told us as parents, look you know every night when you go to bed you worry about your kids. Every morning when you wake up it's the first thing on your mind, you worry about your kid. That's how your kid feels about this drug," said Pavona.

Pavona's son Eric died of a heroin overdose in 2011, after struggling for two years with addiction.

"I thought this is epidemic to the point where someone has to do something," said Pavona.

He wasn't alone, law enforcement in mason established the prescription drug task force to stop students' drug abuse from becoming deadly addiction.

"I got to be pretty concerned that there seemed to be a real significant amount compared to the population," said Mason Police Chief John Stressman.

Stressman says the task force began in Mason, but because drug abuse is such a widespread problem, the task force expanded through the county.

"Now we've established ourselves and we're trying to get the message of prevention out into the community," said Stressman.

The group spreads awareness in hopes they can prevent families like the Pavonas from suffering the loss of a child.

"I don't think people realize that this is the face of addiction--that my son is the face of addiction," said Pavona.

Pavona says what happened to their son could happen to anyone, and his message for people who know drug abusers– speak up, before it's too late.

"It's okay if they're mad at you for a while because, you know what, I'd just as soon my son be mad at me for the rest of his life, and be alive," said Pavona.

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