WASHINGTON — The Consumer Healthcare Products Association on Thursday identified Tammy Walsh as the newest mom to join its Five Moms campaign to raise awareness of teen cough medicine abuse among parents. Walsh is a mother of two teenage boys and a high school math teacher from Northport, N.Y.
According to the 2011 Monitoring the Future report released Wednesday, nearly 5% of teens have abused OTC cough medicines to get high over the past year. While overall abuse has leveled off for eighth and 10th graders, it has declined among 12th graders.
CHPA, which represents the leading makers of OTC medicines, launched the Five Moms campaign in 2007 with the goal of driving parents to action — to educate themselves on medicine abuse, to talk with their children about the risks of such abuse, to safeguard medicines in their homes and to spread the word to other parents. In summer 2011, Five Moms initiated a search to find a new mom to join the campaign. Walsh's nomination statement on why she hoped to become the next Five Mom stood out in a dynamic selection of submissions due to her passion for working with teens and her impressive track record of education and engagement at the local level to address teen substance abuse.
"I've seen firsthand the impact that substance abuse can have on a family and a community," Walsh said. "Through my involvement with the Five Moms campaign I hope to help start the conversation between parents and teens about the risks of substance abuse in communities across the country. I am thrilled to join the Five Moms campaign in the fight against teen cough medicine abuse and look forward to continuing to spread awareness of this important issue."
Since its launch, the Five Moms campaign has reached more than 35 million parents and has resulted in 130,000 tell-a-friend electronic communications sent from parents to other parents to raise awareness of the issue of cough medicine abuse.
The Five Moms campaign features five dedicated mothers from a variety of backgrounds and geographic locations. The other moms at the heart of the Five Moms campaign are:
- Becky Dyer, a former D.A.R.E. officer and deputy sheriff;
- Blaise Brooks, a mother, caretaker and accountant;
- Christy Crandell, a mother, author and founder of a treatment and recovery center for teens; and
- Misty Fetko, a nurse and mother whose son lost his life while high on DXM.
For more information on efforts to raise awareness of teen cough medicine abuse, visit StopMedicineAbuse.org.