Impact Futures marks 2013 accomplishments

Drug abuse is a problem in just about every community, including our own. And Impact Futures is working to mitigate that problem through community outreach and education, and pushing for legal and societal change.

Today (Dec. 19), Impact Futures celebrated their 2012 efforts and progress in an open house in downtown Amarillo.

Project Director LaViza Matthews said among their proudest accomplishments are the protests staged outside businesses that sell synthetic drugs with labels like â??potpourriâ?? or â??incenseâ?? or â??not for human consumption.â?? But people, especially teens, have and do die from these products.

â??I think the protests were a big deal,â?? said Matthews. â??We got heard about, basically, and I was asked to speak in Georgia to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and with their DA to tell them about what Texas is doing.â??

According to the Centers for Disease Control, prescription drug overdoses have nearly tripled in the last ten years - and many of those who overdosed were teens looking to get high. Medication Cleanout Days, the first of which was in 2009 in Amarillo, encourage people to turn in unused or expired medications to be properly disposed of.

And now Impact Futures has partnered with both Randall and Potter County Sheriffs to create permanent medication drop-boxes for the same purpose.

â??Now people donâ??t have to wait for a Medication Cleanout Day,â?? said Matthews. â??You can actually go any time and drop those medicines off, and when you do that, you take it out of the hands of a kid. We have kids who have told us, â??We would go straight into our friendâ??s house and we would clean out the medicine cabinet.â?? Well, now weâ??re taking it out of play.â??

Matthews says their plans for the coming year include attending a conference in Las Vegas to learn about the latest drug trends among teens, and then bring that information back to schools, police, and parents.

You can learn more about Impact Futures and their role in the community by following the link attached to this story.