Prescription drug overdoses kill more than 100 Americans every single day, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That death rate has tripled since 1990. Americans are abusing drugs such as narcotic painkillers, central nervous system depressants and stimulants, and ER visits have increased 111 percent for nonmedical use of prescription drugs from 2004 to 2011.

For the first time, there will be three town hall forums in the County of Santa Barbara for the general public to learn about the new epidemic sweeping the country and what they can do about it.

The events will include a new documentary, Behind the Orange Curtain, as well as four panelists who are involved in various aspects of prescription drug abuses. A question-and-answer session will follow the programs.

The first forum will be held in Santa Barbara in the Faulkner Room of the Central Library at 405 E. Anapamu St.from 6 to 7:30 p.m. May 14. On May 15, a forum will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Little Auditorium of Santa Ynez High School at 2975 E. Highway 246 in Santa Ynez. The last forum will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. May 16 in Santa Maria in the Shephard Hall of the Main Library at 421 S. McClelland St.

All events are free, and refreshments will be served. A Spanish interpreter will be available.

This is your opportunity to learn about the deadly aspects of abusing prescription drugs.

For more information, call the County Alcohol and Drug Problem Department at 805.681.5220.

— Dave Novis is a member of the Santa Barbara County Alcohol & Drug Advisory Board.