TPD receives pair of grants

Main grant addresses prescription drug abuse
Aug. 07, 2013 @ 03:08 PM

TPD receives pair of grants

By Eliot Duke

Thomasville Police received a pair of grants designed to make the community safer and drug-free.

The National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI) on Aug. 2 awarded a $5,000 grant for the department’s ongoing efforts to combat the rise of prescription drug abuse. Funded by Purdue Pharma in Stamford, Conn., the grant is a tool to address prescription drug abuse and diversion through education and enforcement. 

"Prescription drug use and abuse has gotten worse mainly because people with legitimate illnesses and ailments quite often get addicted to the pain medicine," Capt. Darren Smith said. "Then you have people who will steal a friend or family member's medications This grant will be used for enforcement operations targeting prescription abuse or fraud."

NADDI partners with pharmaceutical companies, pharmacies, doctors and law enforcement agencies from across the country in an effort to prevent the illegal use of prescription medications and encourage proper disposal through programs such as Operation Medicine Drop.

Smith said an ongoing problem is the lack of a central database that could be used to prevent people from seeing multiple doctors for the same ailments in an attempt to obtain painkillers or other medications.

"Sometimes these ailments are fabricated," Smith said. "There's an effort to get these systems in place and some doctors already are doing it, but some are not because it's not mandatory. We want to make sure we don't have a patient looking to get a painkiller who has already been to another doctor."

Once these prescriptions are obtained legally, Smith said, people are selling them as a way to supplement their income or feed their addiction.

Funds from the grant will be used for equipment, training and education initiatives such as the police department’s GREAT program implemented at Thomasville Primary and Liberty Drive elementary schools.  

TPD was one of 54 agencies nationwide to receive the funding.

In another grant, the department’s Criminal Investigation Division received $1,000 from Target Corporation. That grant will be used to purchase cameras for crime scenes.

"It often is said that a picture is worth a thousand words," Sgt. Brad Saintsing said. "The Target grant allows us to purchase new cameras that will aid detectives in the documentation of crime scenes and hopefully lead to a higher percentage of solved cases." 

Target gives 5 percent of its profits to surrounding communities, totaling more than $4 million a week.

"At Target, we are committed to serving local communities where we do business," said Laysha Ward, president of community relations at Target. "That's why we are proud to partner with TPD as we work to strengthen communities and enrich the lives of our guests and team members."

Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or duke@tvilletimes.com.