Did you know that one in 25 youth ages 12 through 17 has abused cough medicine to get high from its dextromethorphan ingredient, and one in 5 young adults has abused a prescription drug? Did you know that prescription painkiller overdoses have more than tripled in the past two decades, killing more than 15,500 people in the United States in 2009, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CADCA is raising awareness of the dangers of prescription drug and over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicine abuse during National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month this month, which kicks off today.
CADCA is asking our 5,000 community coalitions to spread the word to their communities that medicine abuse has become an epidemic. National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month promotes the message that over-the-counter and prescription medicines are to be taken only as labeled or prescribed, and that using such medicines to get high or in large doses can cause serious or life-threatening consequences. It also starts a conversation about safe disposal. Many of our coalitions will hold educational forums and events as well as launch social marketing campaigns with CADCA’s tools.
CADCA and its partners are addressing this complex problem from many angles, from educating tweens about over-the-counter medicine safety to addressing smart and innovative disposal options.
“Without a doubt, the abuse of medicines will require a comprehensive coalition approach. Every sector has a role and a responsibility to get involved,” said CADCA’s Chairman and CEO, Gen. Arthur T. Dean.
Coalitions are seeing reductions in youth prescription drug abuse. According to the Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program’s 2014 National Evaluation Report, DFC coalitions funded by ONDCP in FY 2013 are showing promising results for middle school and high school youth past 30 day use of illicit prescription drug and an increase in the perception of risk.
Members of the media and coalitions are encouraged to visit CADCA’s special toolkit at preventrxabuse.org for more information to get engaged in the campaign. New for 2015 are special focus weeks for the month:
• Week of October 5 Drug-Free Kids – celebrating kids who are “above the influence” and educating parents and other caregivers
• Week of October 12 The Medical Community – focus on the medicine supply chain from manufacturer to doctor and pharmacist.
• Week of October 19 Our Schools – reaching out to teachers, administrators, counselors and nurses in our educational system.
• Week of October 26 Law Enforcement Community – honoring their key role in drug demand reduction and control.
CADCA also thanks its sponsors for making our campaign possible. What began with one partner Consumer Healthcare Products Association in 2008, has expanded to include additional sponsors McNeil Healthcare, Healthcare Distribution Management Association, and Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, and partners Gannett and The Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.
Over 50 coalitions will host events around the U.S. and innovative coalitions will vie for CADCA’s annual Dose of Prevention Award, sponsored by CHPA, by registering on preventrxabuse.org for the CADCA 50 Challenge.