“Medicine Abuse Project”-New Campaign to fight Prescription Drug Abuse
Prescription drug abuse in America is becoming increasingly alarming by the minute. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), there were approximately 7 million people in the U.S. who reported nonmedical use of psychotherapeutic drugs in 2010. Pain relievers remain as the most widely abused medications, followed by tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives. Among adolescents, nearly 1 in 10 high school seniors use Vicodin without a doctor’s prescription, and 1 in 20 reported abuse of OxyContin. The 2011 Monitoring the Future survey reveals that majority of the surveyed 12th graders were able to obtain prescription narcotics through a friend or relative.
New research released today from The Partnership at Drugfree.org shows the issue of teen medicine abuse is more widespread than parents think. Only six percent of parents of teens believe their child has abused medicine, when in fact one in 10 teens (10 percent) admit they misused/abused medicines in the past six months.
According to the new survey, although roughly one in five teens and parents (19 percent and 22 percent respectively) say they know someone who has died due to medicine abuse, the issue is simply not on parents’ radar screens. Parents rank medicine abuse only 13th among the list of greatest concerns for teens, below both alcohol and illegal drug use.
The research findings also showed that while parents say they do not give their children medicines that were not prescribed for them, teens tell a different story. Only 3 percent of parents of teens admit giving their child a medication not prescribed for them, while one in five (22 percent) teens report that their parents have done exactly that.
“Medicine Abuse Project”
Launched by the Partnership at Drugfree.org, to effectively combat the intentional abuse of prescription drugs and other over-the-counter cough medicines. The campaign will begin during the week of September 23-29, 2012. The Medicine Abuse Project is designed to prevent half a million teens from abusing medicines. The launch week will kick start a multi-year effort to help educate parents, teens and the public about the dangers of medicine abuse and unite parents, educators, health care providers, coaches, government officials, law enforcement officers and other partners to help save lives.
“Our new research reveals that Americans drastically underestimate the negative impact that the abuse of prescription drugs and over-the-counter cough medicine is having on teens today,” said Steve Pasierb, President and CEO of The Partnership at Drugfree.org. “Unfortunately, right now, all the elements are aligned for a ‘perfect storm’ to continue threatening the health and well-being of our kids. From the easy accessibility that teens have to medicines in their own homes, coupled with a low perception of risk in abusing them – to parents giving their own kids medicines that are not prescribed to them – we must all take action to turn the tide on this epidemic. Our children’s lives depend on it.”
Everyone has the opportunity to help end medicine abuse by visiting a new, dedicated website, MedicineAbuseProject.org, and taking the Pledge to become educated about the issue and talk with the kids and teens in their lives. The comprehensive site also features tools designed to help health care providers address the abuse of medications with their patients.
A series of launch week events will support the goal of educating people about teen medicine abuse and share the stories of families affected by the issue. As the week culminates with the Drug Enforcement Administration-sponsored National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day – thousands of local take-back events taking place in communities across the nation – the campaign will also help facilitate the proper disposal of unused medications.