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SAMHSA Abuse Prevention Program Targets Consumers of Highly Abused Prescription Drugs
A 26-week pilot program launched by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will provide point-of-sale substance abuse prevention information sheets to purchasers of highly abused prescription drugs, including hydrocodone, select sleep aids and oxycontin (generic and brand name). Highlighting the need for prescription drug abuse prevention, the sheets provide practical advice on properly storing medication and disposing of unused amounts. This program is specifically aimed at combating the growing abuse of prescription drugs among teens and young adults and will involve some 6,300 pharmacies nationwide.
The 2006 National Survey of Drug Use and Health shows despite the fact that illicit drug abuse among youth has decreased in many areas over the past few years, prescription drug abuse has increased significantly. For example, the level of nonmedical use of prescription drugs among young adults increased from 5.4 percent in 2002 to 6.4 percent in 2006.
“Prescription drug abuse is a serious public health problem, and we must take decisive action against it,” said SAMHSA Administrator Terry Cline, Ph.D. “Most prescription drug abusers say they get access to these drugs through a friend or relative. That’s why this program is so important – consumers need to understand that these beneficial prescription medications can pose serious potential health risks if abused, and if they fall into the wrong hands. Armed with this abuse prevention information and advice on how to properly store and dispose of these drugs, consumers can play a major role in helping eliminate this problem.”
SAMHSA and the prescription drug marketing firm Catalina Marketing Corporation are delivering prescription drug abuse prevention messages to consumers of highly abused prescription drugs. New technology will automatically select the appropriate abuse prevention information sheet for the given consumer, according to the prescription being purchased.
The abuse prevention information sheets address prescription drug abuse, especially in teens and young adults, safe storage of prescription drugs and adhering to specific use and disposal directions on prescriptions.
The program’s effectiveness will be measured by monitoring Web-based feedback from the public to determine how widely and effectively the program has reached out to consumers. SAMHSA will then determine whether to terminate, continue, modify and/or expand this effort.
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, October 23, 2007
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