SILVER SPRING, Md., Dec. 7, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Addiction expert and national TV and radio personality Dr. Drew Pinsky (Dr. Drew) is speaking out today to raise awareness of teen prescription drug abuse, and to introduce a new Web site – www.SmartMovesSmartChoices.org – that educates and empowers parents, teens and educators to get smart about this problem among our nation's youth.
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When used under the care of a doctor at an appropriate dosage for a legitimate medical reason, prescription medications can provide benefits and be effective for many people. Some teens, however, do not recognize the dangers of abusing prescription medications. Forty-one percent of teens mistakenly believe that it is safer to abuse prescription drugs to get high than to take illegal drugs, like cocaine or heroin. One in five high school students has taken a prescription drug that was not prescribed for them, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The fact is, abuse of drugs, whether illegal, prescription, or over-the-counter, is highly unsafe.
To raise awareness, the National Association of School Nurses and PriCara®, Division of Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., partnered to develop a new Web site, www.SmartMovesSmartChoices.org. PriCara® also sponsored the development of the site. Both organizations are deeply committed to reducing teen prescription drug abuse. The Web site is designed to help teens better understand the risks of prescription drug abuse and motivate parents and educators to monitor their medicine cabinets and safeguard their teens.
Board certified in internal and addiction medicine, Dr. Drew understands the real dangers and consequences of teens abusing prescription medications – the drug of choice for children as young as 12, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
"Many teens do not realize that abusing prescription medications alone – or mixing prescription medications with alcohol – can cause serious health consequences, and possibly death, even if you do it just once," said Dr. Drew, New York Times best-selling author and host of "Celebrity Rehab" and "Sober House."
Every day, 2,500 young people use a prescription pain reliever to get high for the first time. The prescription drugs teens most commonly abuse – painkillers, stimulants and depressants – are often easily accessible to teens. In fact, 65 percent of teens say they get prescription pain relievers from family or friends and three out of five teens report that prescription medications are easy to get from a parent's medicine cabinet.
"Parents should try to be aware and monitor their teens' access to prescription drugs," said Dr. Drew. "I want to encourage parents to take control and transform their medicine cabinets from danger zones into safe zones," he continued.
According to Dr. Drew, parents can be more influential than they realize. "The good news is that parents can begin to safeguard their children from prescription medication abuse if they take action right now," he said. "First, take all prescription medications out of the medicine cabinet and lock them in a safe place. Second, learn to recognize the signs of abuse. Third, start an ongoing dialogue with your kids. Finally, it's important to access credible resources for help – so I urge you to visit SmartMovesSmartChoices.org."
The SmartMovesSmartChoices.org Web site features an interactive quiz, myth-busting facts, take-action tips and educational videos featuring Dr. Drew.* Also available are materials that enable educators and school nurses to teach students about this topic in their own schools, including lesson plans and a school assembly tool kit.
To learn more about the Smart Moves, Smart Choices program and to access the videos and tool kit materials, visit www.SmartMovesSmartChoices.org.
About Smart Moves, Smart Choices
Smart Moves, Smart Choices is a national awareness program that informs parents, teens and educators about teen prescription drug abuse and its serious risks. The initiative encourages teens to think twice before they abuse a prescription medication and motivates parents to monitor their medicine cabinets and initiate conversations with their teens. It also inspires educators to incorporate lesson plans and school assemblies to enlighten their students about the dangers of prescription drug abuse so that they are more likely to make smart decisions. For more information, visit www.SmartMovesSmartChoices.org.
About the National Association of School Nurses
The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) is the expert voice for optimal student health and for professional development of school nurses. The organization's vision is that every child has access to a school nurse all day, every day. School nursing is a specialized practice of professional nursing that advances the well-being, academic success and life-long achievement and health of students. NASN supports the health and educational success of children and youth by developing and providing leadership to advance school nursing practice by specialized registered nurses. For more information, visit www.NASN.org.
About PriCara®, Division of Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
PriCara®, Division of Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., is a major healthcare company in the United States dedicated to the healthcare professionals who serve a vital role on the front line of medicine. PriCara® provides products to treat conditions such as pain and acid reflux disease. For more information, visit www.PriCara.com.
*Dr. Drew Pinsky served as a paid consultant in the development of the school assembly videos and the promotion of the Smart Moves, Smart Choices initiative.
SOURCE National Association of School Nurses (NASN)