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National Campaign Aims to Prevent Medicine Abuse Among Teens

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A national campaign launched this week aims to prevent half a million teenagers from abusing medicine within five years. CBS NewYork reports The Medicine Abuse Project is a multi-year effort to help educate parents, teens and the public about the dangers of medicine abuse.

New research released this week by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids shows that while only 6 percent of parents of teens believe their child has abused medicine, in fact one in 10 teens (10 percent) admit they misused/abused medicines in the past six months.

According to the new survey, although roughly one in five teens and parents (19 percent and 22 percent respectively) say they know someone who has died due to medicine abuse, the issue is simply not on parents’ radar screens. Parents rank medicine abuse only 13th among the list of greatest concerns for teens, below both alcohol and illegal drug use.

A majority of teens (79 percent) say they know where their parents keep their prescription medicines, and 37 percent of teens say it’s relatively easy to get medicines from home. Of those parents who said they keep medicines in their home, nearly two-thirds (63 percent) keep them in case they, or someone else, need them in the future.

“Our new research reveals that Americans drastically underestimate the negative impact that the abuse of prescription drugs and over-the-counter cough medicine is having on teens today,” said Steve Pasierb, President and CEO of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. “Unfortunately, right now, all the elements are aligned for a ‘perfect storm’ to continue threatening the health and well-being of our kids. From the easy accessibility that teens have to medicines in their own homes, coupled with a low perception of risk in abusing them – to parents giving their own kids medicines that are not prescribed to them – we must all take action to turn the tide on this epidemic. Our children’s lives depend on it.”

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