April 3, 2014
HARRISBURG - Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane will join state Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa (D-43) and Sen. Matt Smith (D-37) at separate educational forums in Allegheny County this weekend. These events will highlight two of Attorney General Kane's biggest priorities: protecting children and combating prescription drug abuse.
Today, Friday, April 4, 2014 Attorney General Kane will participate in a social media awareness forum in conjunction with Smith and the Quaker Valley School District. The Attorney General's Education and Outreach Unit will provide information on the latest social media apps and programs and educate parents on how they are used, abused and what they can do to protect their children. The forum will be held at 6:30 p.m., Friday, in the auditorium of Quaker Valley Middle School, 618 Harbaugh St., Sewickley.
"Social media is how our kids communicate, it comes naturally to them," said Attorney General Kane. "As parents, we must become educated and be proactive to keep our kids safe but also allow them to grow socially on these networks, even if we are not as comfortable with them. We have to teach 'stranger danger' in cyber space."
The program will also include information on privacy and legal concerns and feature a panel of experts including staff from the Office of Attorney General, a middle school counselor and a local police officer to answer audience questions.
"As social media floods nearly every facet of our lives and impacts our children at an increasingly earlier age, we are pulling together experts and information so that parents have the tools necessary to best protect their kids," Smith said.
On Saturday, April 5, Attorney General Kane will join Sen. Jay Costa at the Penn Hills Library to discuss the epidemic of prescription and illegal drug use among young adults. The Attorney General and Costa will also be joined by local law enforcement at the community forum. The forum will be held at 1:00 p.m. at the Penn Hills Library, 1037 Stotler Road, Pittsburgh.
"Prescription drug abuse is a problem reaching epidemic proportions in Pennsylvania," Attorney General Kane said. "This event aims to start a dialogue about the dangers of prescription drugs and to educate our communities about the devastating path of abuse. Combatting this crisis begins with admitting we have a problem."
Attorney General Kane has made addressing the proliferation of prescription drug abuse her number one priority this year. Pennsylvania has the 14th highest drug overdose mortality rate in the United States.
According to the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, among a sample of misusers of prescription drugs who used heroin, 82% started with prescription drugs before transitioning to heroin. Earlier this year, in one week, 22 people died in Western Pennsylvania after overdosing on a lethal mix of heroin and the legal narcotic fentanyl.
"The growing epidemic of prescription drug abuse and illegal drug use does not discriminate. We have seen the impact in each and every neighborhood throughout the region," said Costa.
"By partnering with the Attorney General and local law enforcement, we can work to ensure that our residents have the information and resources to meet the challenges our communities face regarding prescription and illegal drug abuse."