NEW YORK, March 25, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A national Public Service Announcement Campaign (PSA) "You Decide Before They Prescribe," geared at educating parents on the link between prescribed prescription pain medicine and heroin abuse and encouraging them to speak to their doctor regarding the addictive qualities of pain medicine and the possible alternatives.
The campaign, created by the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ), was unveiled on the 42nd St. Digital Cube, on 42nd Street and 8th Avenue and will immediately begin appearing in transit locations throughout New York and New Jersey. The campaign is also being utilized by community coalitions and substance abuse prevention alliances throughout the United States.
The campaign release comes as New Jersey commemorates "Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness Month" and the levels of opiate abuse in New Jersey and the nation continue to rise. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued national guidelines for physicians prescribing pain medicine, in an effort to reduce the scope of the epidemic.
Dr. Andrew Kolodny, executive director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, a national organization that advocates for research-based opioid prescribing and policies to reduce health risks and deaths, along with other physicians spoke at the launch about the importance of physicians educating their patients of the potential for dependency when an opioid is prescribed.
According to the CDC, opioid pain relievers that are abused were most often obtained via prescription from physicians and since 2000, the rate of deaths from drug overdoses has increased 137%, including a 200% increase in the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids and users of prescription drugs are 40 times more likely to use heroin.
"Patients need to be notified by their physician of the addictive qualities of these opioid based drugs," said Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ) Co-Chair, Elaine Pozycki. She noted, a bill was recently introduced by the New Jersey Legislature, Assembly Bill 3424, that calls for physicians to have conversations with parents of children under age 18, about the potential for dependency and possible alternatives, when prescribing an opiate. "Education is the key factor in preventing the abuse of opiates," explained Pozycki.
PDFNJ has focused on educating parents, physicians, and community leaders about the dangers of prescription pain medicine and the link between prescribed opiates and heroin abuse rates, according to PDFNJ Executive Director, Angelo M. Valente. "40% of New Jersey parents still walk into a physician's office not understanding the link between prescription pain medicine and heroin – that opioids are a synthetic version of heroin.," Valente explained. He noted, "The majority (78%) of New Jersey parents strongly agree that physicians should be legally required to discuss the risk of developing either a physical or psychological dependency on the prescription pain medication with patients prior to prescribing it."
He noted that a March 2015 PDFNJ/ Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind study of New Jersey residents found that the majority want the legislature to mandate that their doctor tell them if their prescription medicine is addictive and believe those conversations will reduce the number of individuals who become addicted to pain medications.
About The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey
Best known for its statewide anti-drug advertising campaign, the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey is a private not-for-profit coalition of professionals from the communications, corporate and government communities whose collective mission is to reduce the demand for illicit drugs in New Jersey through media communication. To date, more than $70 million in broadcast time and print space has been donated to the Partnership's New Jersey campaign, making it the largest public service advertising campaign in New Jersey's history. Since its inception the Partnership has garnered 120 Advertising and Public Relations Awards from National, Regional & Statewide Media Organizations.
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SOURCE Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey