Medical professionals offer up tips during National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month


GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — October marks the start of National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month. It’s a time where medical professionals and community members can come together to talk about the dangers and impacts of substance abuse.

This month helps spread awareness about not only the dangers of prescription meds but also over-the-counter ones as well. WNCT caught up with a local medical professional to gain more insight into the work being done in Eastern North Carolina.

“People don’t recognize the overuse of those medications that get you to a state where you really aren’t in control of yourself.”

Glenn Buck, Chief Clinical Officer “PORT Health Services”

Whether it be prescription or over-the-counter meds, both have the ability to be abused. Glenn Buck is the Chief Clinical Officer at Port Health Services. He says, over the counter meds like cough syrups have been popularized in today’s youth.

“Well obviously over the counter meds a lot of it is cough medicine, there’s a culture out there, there’s a lot of music that promotes cough medicine and I think 1 in 5 adolescents have abused cough medicine.”

Glenn Buck

Buck says it really all comes down to access. He notes that opioids are actually very useful for those who need them, but when they linger around in the medicine cabinet, they can become lethal.

“It’s all about access so what you always have to remember is that you don’t think about your medications as something that could be a deadly tool.”

Glenn Buck

Noting that yes, in the past there may have been cases where some docs were overprescribing or giving out too much in a single prescription. But he says now, they actually are able to hold each other more accountable.

“I think with the recent legislation that it did pass where there are now all types of controls on the medication whereas there is a line where all physicians can have access to see where they got meds from.”

Glenn Buck

Buck says they have multiple services for those struggling including over a dozen outpatient clinics for those in need. When it comes to youth, he says it’s all about prevention efforts.

“I think prevention is very important. The sad part of it is that we have a hard time getting enough funding to do enough prevention so it ends up becoming more of an intervention.”

Glenn Buck

Buck says it is important people know that there is funding out there for those who are uninsured or underinsured to help grant them access to these programs.

For those interested in receiving a medicine lockbox or medicine disposal bags, you can reach out to Debbie Sudekum at Port Health Services. Her email is She can also be reached by phone at (252) 341-6483.

For more information on preventing medicine abuse, click here.

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