Every day across our country, more than 2,000 teens use a prescription medicine to get high for the first time, and the death toll from prescription painkillers alone has tripled in the past decade.
To address this public health epidemic, DrugFreeAz.org has joined The Partnership at DrugFreeAz.org to introduce The Medicine Abuse Project, a multi-year effort to raise awareness and curb the abuse of medicine by teens and young adults. Launching the week of September 23-29, 2012, the campaign will encourage and help parents and the public-at-large to help manage this problem, working toward the common goal of preventing half a million teens from abusing medicine within the next five years. As a health care provider, I encourage you to take the following 5 steps to help us stop an epidemic.
1. Safeguard your medicine. Keep prescription medicine in a secure place, count and monitor the number of pills you have, and lock up your medicine.
2. Safely dispose of your unused medicine. Take part in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Take-Back Day on Sept. 29. Learn more and find locations near you by visiting DrugFreeAz.org.
3. Educate yourself. Find helpful resources for parents and grandparents, health care providers, community and law enforcement officials and educators at MedicineAbuseProject.org.
4. If you are a parent, communicate the risks of prescription and over-the-counter cough medicine abuse to your kids. Children who learn a lot about the risks of drugs from their parents are up to 50 percent less likely to use drugs than those who do not get that critical message at home. Conversation starters for families can be found at DrugFreeAz.org.
5. Get help. If you think your child has a problem with prescription medicine abuse, call The Partnership at DrugFreeAz.org’s Parents Toll-Free Helpline to speak with a parent specialist at 1-855-DRUGFREE (1-855-378-4373).