Statement of Steve Pasierb, President and CEO, the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids
New York, NY, June 17, 2013—Last Friday, Urban Outfitters issued a statement to CNN that it was halting the sale of prescription drug paraphernalia products. The statement read, “In this extensive range of product we recognize that from time to time there may be individual items that are misinterpreted by people who are not our customer. As a result of this misinterpretation we are electing to discontinue these few styles from our current product offering.”
On behalf of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, our partners and the families across the country affected by the issue of prescription drug misuse and abuse, we commend Urban Outfitters for doing the right thing by discontinuing the sale of these products from their current offerings.
This May, the California Friday Night Live Partnership alerted us that Urban Outfitters, a national retail store popular with teens, was selling merchandise made to look like prescription pill bottles including prescription label flasks, pint and shot glasses. In response, the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids launched an advocacy campaign and petition requesting that Urban Outfitters remove these products from their stores and website. Thanks to countless parents, teens, alliances and partners, including support from U.S. Representative Hal Rogers, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy Gil Kerlikowske, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear and 22 State Attorneys General, our efforts secured more than 4,700 signatures of support on Causes.com.
Given that 90 percent of addictions start in the teenage years, these products, which linked medicine and alcohol and were aimed at a high school and college-age audience, wrongfully glorified the abuse and misuse of prescription drugs. All teenagers – regardless of who they are or where they live – are subject to the lure of drugs and alcohol. For this reason, the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids continues to focus its efforts on educating, motivating, supporting and empowering families with the resources they need to help protect children from drug and alcohol abuse, most specifically in conjunction with The Medicine Abuse Project, our national initiative to prevent half a million teens from abusing prescription drugs and over-the-counter cough medicine by 2017.
According to the CDC, prescription drug abuse in the United States is now at epidemic levels. More Americans die from prescription drug overdoses than from heroin and cocaine overdoses combined. And according to our recently released Partnership Attitude Tracking Study, teen prescription drug misuse and abuse is up by 33 percent since 2008.
Educating parents and our youth about the dangers of medicine abuse is an ongoing job; a job that we all as members of society must do together. Thank you for your continued efforts to support our important cause, and please join us to #endmedicineabuse by signing the Pledge today.