NEW YORK, Oct. 21, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The White House has announced today that President Obama will host a community forum in Charleston, West Virginia on the prescription drug abuse and heroin epidemic in that state and in communities across the country. The President will announce a plan to help curb the flow of prescription painkillers and ease the path to treatment for individuals struggling with opioid addiction.
The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, a national nonprofit working to reduce substance abuse among adolescents, has been integrally involved in development of the White House plan, and particularly in today's launch of Safe Drug Disposal: A Guide for Communities Seeking Solutions. This new PDF created by the Partnership, in collaboration with Office of Community Oriented Policing Solutions (COPS), Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), will help communities take steps to safely dispose of medicines, protecting their citizens from accidental use, intentional abuse and environmental damage.
"It's now clear that addiction to opiates – whether prescription pain relievers or heroin – has become a national crisis," said Marcia Lee Taylor, President and CEO of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. "We are proud to play a part, working with ONDCP, COPS and DEA, to address this crisis, and particularly pleased that our new Safe Drug Disposal guide can help reduce the amount of leftover, abusable medication in medicine cabinets across the country."
One of the key elements of the White House plan is broad-based support from media to bring awareness to this epidemic. Many of the Partnership's longtime media partners are committing more than $20 million in time and space to this national effort. They include ABC-owned TV Stations, CBS Television Network, Café Mom, Google, Meredith, The New York Times and Turner Broadcasting.
Furthermore, Major League Baseball (MLB) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) are supporting The White House and the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids in their efforts to educate families on the dangers of prescription drug abuse and heroin. MLB will run public service announcements addressing this important societal issue across its media outlets, both via MLB.com and on MLB Network, throughout the entire year. The NBA has committed to use the Partnership's broadcast, radio, digital and social media assets over the next 12 months.
"Our partners have always astonished us with their generosity, willingness and passion in getting the word out about our cause," says Taylor. "Their support will be critical in magnifying this public health concern to a wider audience and giving it the attention it merits."
The Partnership has been addressing this problem head on for more than a decade, and more specifically with the launch of the Medicine Abuse Project in 2012, a national action campaign and collaboration of eight Federal agencies, 17 corporations and more than 60 national and local partners with a goal of preventing half a million teens from starting to abuse medicine. The Project has broadened awareness among parents around teen prescription drug abuse, including opiates, by promoting safeguarding and safe disposal of unused meds.
The Partnership's work focuses on families, youth, educators, healthcare providers and community leaders. The Medicine Abuse Project includes a prescription drug guide, educational films and videos, teen-targeted programming, outreach to healthcare providers, infographics for sharing, pilot efforts around Naloxone and education on medication-assisted treatment.
"We applaud the White House and President Obama for his directives on prescriber education and access to medication-assisted treatments for opioid abuse," added Taylor. "We have focused on both in the Medicine Abuse Project, as they are critical pieces of a comprehensive approach to addressing prescription drug abuse."
The drug guide is a resource where visitors can access information on the drugs most commonly abused by teens, with a page focused on heroin, as well as a comprehensive prescription drug guide.
Thousands of parents have been educated on medicine abuse through film, where the Partnership has screened Out of Reach, its teen-made documentary capturing the issue of prescription drug abuse in a typical suburban school and community. Another video is part of the Partnership's Above the Influence (ATI) program that inspires young people to make positive decisions to stay healthy and avoid drugs and alcohol through media messaging, social networks and resources for local organizations. The teen-targeted "Not Prescribed" video communicates the risks of prescription drug abuse directly to youth by using the stories of four real teenagers and is one ATI tool available for youth-serving organizations.
Recognizing the key role healthcare professionals play in prescribing responsibly, the Partnership introduced its "Search and Rescue" campaign in 2014, an effort supported by a multi-year grant from the Food and Drug Administration. West Virginia is one of the states involved in this initiative, where family physicians and pain specialists can access a state-specific website and learn how to identify and help patients who may already be misusing or abusing medication.
The nonprofit's interactive Rx to Heroin infographic, illustrating the path leading some teens and young adults from prescription painkiller abuse into heroin addiction, and its pilot Naloxone project, bringing life-saving kits and training to New Jersey families, were developed in response to the transitioning of prescription drug abuse to heroin use (4 out of 5 heroin users began first with abuse of prescription pain relievers).
Finally, the Partnership has helped educate families through its medication-assisted treatment e-Book, helping parents better understand the potential life-saving benefits of medication-assisted treatment. The advanced online tool is comprised of videos, testimonials and an e-book to help parents make an informed choice when they are looking for treatment options to help a teen or young adult recover from an addiction to prescription pain medications, heroin or other opiates.
To learn more about the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, please visit drugfree.org.
About the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids
The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is dedicated to reducing substance abuse among adolescents by supporting families and engaging with teens. We develop public education campaigns that drive awareness of teen substance abuse, and lead teen-targeted efforts that inspire young people to make positive decisions to stay healthy and avoid drugs and alcohol. On our website, drugfree.org, and through our toll-free helpline (1-855-DRUGFREE), we provide families with direct support and guidance to help them address teen substance abuse. Finally, we build healthy communities, advocating for greater access to adolescent treatment and funding for youth prevention programs. As a national nonprofit, we depend on donations from individuals, corporations, foundations and the public sector and are thankful to SAG-AFTRA and the advertising and media industries for their ongoing generosity. We are proud to receive a Four-Star rating from Charity Navigator, America's largest and most-utilized independent evaluator of charities, as well as a National Accredited Charity Seal from The Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance.
SOURCE The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids