The first speaker of the night was Frankie Andrews, North Carolina area director for the National Coalition Against Prescription Drug Abuse (NCAPDA).
Andrews was personally affected by prescription drug abuse after he lost his nephews, Matthew Absher, 25, and Brandon Moxley, 26, from overdoses on prescription drugs in 2006 and ‘10, respectively.
“Some things that I’ve been able to do is try to be proactive and try to raise awareness about my family’s tragedy,” Andrews said. “We’ve got flyers that we hand out. I’ve started a scholarship back home that the winner has to write an essay on prescription drug abuse and they have to present it to their graduating class. It’s my hope that peers educating peers will have more of an impact than some old man up here trying to tell a story about his family.”
He said prescription drug abuse has become a national epidemic.
“The last statistics I’ve seen is someone dies every 19 minutes from a prescription drug overdose,” Andrews said. “By the time I get done running my mouth, someone will have died from a prescription drug overdose. We’ve got to do something about this. We as family members, we as parents, and we as peers, have got to do something about this and education is the first step.”
He said in his home, he’s already started the education with his 7 year old son by locking up all of the medicine in his house.
“Together, we’ll lock this medicine up,” Andrews said. “We lock it up, and when he needs it, we go unlock it together. I give him this medicine, and I explain to him why he’s getting this medicine. When it’s time to get taken off the medicine, I explain to him why he’s being taken off of it. It’s my hope, that by doing this with him, it will be second nature for him when he gets older.”