PEPPERELL -- A Pepperell woman is asking the Board of Health for support in starting a subcommittee to raise awareness about prescription drug abuse.

Therese LaRose, who works with the Lowell Health Department, said at the Oct. 1 Board of Health meeting that she has seen prescription drug abuse as a growing problem in her work. But little has been done to address it in Pepperell, she said.

"I've seen a lot of drug abuse with my patients, so I became a certified health educator," LaRose said. "I would like to maybe somehow form a subcommittee because this is such a problem."

Board members agreed to send a letter to various town officials to gauge their interest in participating in such a subcommittee. LaRose volunteered to chair the subcommittee herself, but asked for help in reaching out to other parties.

Chairman Phillip Durno said the letter could be sent to the town administrator, school superintendent, police chief, fire chief, Senior Center, library and Nashoba Associated Boards of Health.

The subcommittee could support efforts such as a drug awareness week in schools, programs at the Senior Center about how to properly dispose of prescription drugs and support groups for those whose loved ones are addicted, LaRose said. She cited Billerica and Tewksbury as communities that have done pilot programs on prescription drug abuse awareness in their schools that North Middlesex could emulate.


The Nashoba Associated Boards of Health does not offer any similar programs, Health Agent Kalene Gendron said before expressing support for LaRose's effort.

"This could be her stepping stone and we could see what happens from here," Gendron said.

The lack of discussion of the problems of prescription drug abuse is what motivated LaRose to look into starting the subcommittee.

"I talk to people who have teenagers who are clueless about this problem," LaRose said.

Board member Virginia Malouin said the problem is "a critical need that's not discussed too much.

"I think it's wonderful that you are stepping up because if you can help one person, all your efforts will be worthwhile," Malouin said.