Newspaper supplement highlights dangers of OTC drug abuse

WASHINGTON Three associations—the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America—on Wednesday introduced a new tool in the fight against medicine abuse, a 16-page newspaper supplement that aims to educate young people and parents about the dangers of abusing over-the-counter cough medicine and prescription drugs.

“Prescription medicines improve the lives of millions of patients every day,” stated Billy Tauzin, PhRMA’s president and chief executive officer. “The misuse of these medicines is tragic, and I believe we have an obligation to ensure that they are used properly. This supplement helps prevent medication abuse by actively reaching out to households and schools all across the country.”

“While national surveys show that overall illicit drug use among youth is on a downward trend, unfortunately the rates of over-the-counter and prescription drug abuse are holding steady.” commented Gen. Arthur Dean, CADCA chairman and chief executive officer. “CADCA and our partners share a common goal—to reduce the abuse of these medicines. … This project represents yet another ‘teachable moment’ that parents, community leaders and teachers can take to the youth in their lives make positive choices.”

The supplement, entitled “Stay Smart, Don’t Start: The Truth About Drugs and Alcohol,” was developed jointly by the three associations as part of its collective effort to raise awareness and fight medicine abuse.

The supplement contains information about the scope of the problem of youth alcohol, illicit drug, and medicine abuse; slang terms that teens use to describe OTC cough medicine and prescription drug abuse; and steps parents can take to prevent medicine abuse in their families. It also includes examples of what youth can do to get involved in drug prevention in their communities and helpful online resources for teens, parents, and teachers.

The supplement was published in the Washington, D.C. metro area in The Washington Times on Sept. 9, 2008, and is available online at: www.nieteacher.org/staysmart.pdf.

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