WASHINGTON — Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association on Thursday joined forces to honor Chesterfield, Va.-based Substance Abuse Free Environment with this year’s Dose of Prevention award. The award recognizes community-based organizations that have implemented successful initiatives to raise awareness of the dangers of prescription drug abuse and OTC cough medicine abuse.
"Prescription and over-the-counter medicine abuse is a serious issue that is affecting communities across the country,” stated Gen. Arthur Dean, CADCA chairman and CEO. “Thankfully, there are coalitions like SAFE that are implementing innovative strategies to educate their community and prevent medicine abuse — engaging parents, youth, prescribers, policymakers and other key sectors. That’s why we’re honored to recognize SAFE as our 2014 Dose of Prevention award winner.”
The abuse of medicines — both prescription and OTC products — continues to be a major problem throughout the country. After discovering that OTC cough medicine abuse in its area was at levels significantly higher than the national average, SAFE disseminated educational materials to nearly 8,000 parents in their school district and educated their community about the dangers of abusing cough medicines containing dextromethorphan through community forums and health fairs.
The group also addressed prescription drug abuse by conducting prescriber education trainings for physicians and other healthcare providers and held prescription drug take-back day events.
“SAFE’s efforts show how local coalitions drive awareness and reduce abuse, and we applaud their efforts to educate their community and give parents and other community stakeholders the tools they need to fight this problem," commented CHPA president and CEO Scott Melville.
According to the 2013 Monitoring the Future Survey, 4% of teens have abused OTC cough medicines containing the active ingredient dextromethorphan to get high over the past year. Teens report getting many of these medicines from home medicine cabinets and mistakenly believe that abusing them is “safer” than other drugs. CADCA is a partner of CHPA’s StopMedicineAbuse.org campaign educating teens and parents of teens about the dangers of OTC cough medicine abuse.
The group received its award Thursday during CADCA’s 24rd Annual National Leadership Forum at the Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md. CADCA’s National Leadership Forum is the nation's largest training for substance abuse prevention and treatment professionals and researchers, attracting more than 2,500 community and state leaders from across the country.