Getting Smart About Teens and Medicine Abuse

by | Sep 17, 2012 | Uncategorized

The Medicine Abuse Project Launches Initiative to End Growing Epidemic: National Action Campaign Will Prevent Half a Million Teens from Abusing Medicine in Five Years

Did you know that today in the United States, 2,000 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 will abuse a prescription pain medication without a prescription? [1] In fact, it’s easier than you would think. It can be as simple as opening a cupboard, drawer or medicine cabinet. I’m a huge supporter of the The Partnership at The troubling stats you read and the graphics are used by permission from this organization.

This week a series of social media events will take place to help draw awareness to teens and medicine abuse. I urge you to look at the calendar below and log into one of the events. Read more! Pass the information onto other parents. And here are reasons why it’s essential that we do get educated.

Modern day prescription drug abuse is dangerously high among teens in the U.S., with one in six teens reporting they have used a prescription drug (when a doctor had not prescribed it for them) in order to get high or change their mood.[2]

Additionally, two-thirds of teens who abuse pain relievers say they get them from family members and friends.[3]

Today, more Americans die from drug overdoses than in car crashes and this increasing trend is driven by overdoses from prescription painkillers.[4] Additionally, one person dies every 19 minutes from a drug overdose in the United States, a trend also driven by prescription pain killers.[5] If the human toll was not enough, all of this is an enormous drain on the nation’s economy, with the health care costs related to this behavior estimated at more than $72 billion annually.[6]

Teenagers perceive prescription drugs to be less dangerous than illicit ones, which is why prescription medicines are now the most commonly abused drugs among 12 to 13 year olds.[7] Parents are the first line of defense against this terrifying epidemic as kids who learn about the risks of drugs at home are up to 50 percent less likely to use them.[8]

Medicine abuse is a national issue. The Partnership at is a nonprofit organization working to educate parents and teens on the dangers of prescription drug and over-the-counter cough medicine abuse. They are launching The Medicine Abuse Project during the week of September 23, 2012, with the ultimate goal of preventing half a million teens from abusing prescription drugs.

How to Get Involved and Educated

A series of launch week events will support the goal of educating people about teen medicine abuse and share the stories of families affected by the issue. With the week culminating in the Drug Enforcement Administration-facilitated National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, the campaign will also help facilitate the proper disposal of unused medications. Let’s get educated as adults. Doing so will save our children’s lives.

Monday, September 24th:

The Medicine Abuse Project LIVE: iVillage Twitter chat – 8 p.m. ET: Bob Barnett, director of iVillage/Health, Custom Content, will host featured guests, including Jerry Otero, lead parent support specialist for The Partnership at’s Parents Toll-Free Helpline. Follow the live chat on Twitter using the hashtag #endmedicineabuse.

Tuesday, September 25th:

The Medicine Abuse Project LIVE: NYC – 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. ET: A compelling, digital exhibit taking place in Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall will feature personal stories about medicine abuse and a LIVE installation that comes to life through a visually engaging story-telling exhibit. NYC commuters and visitors will be encouraged to take a pledge to take action against medicine abuse, share their stories via social media and interact with the stories of other families who have been affected by this critical health issue.

Thursday, September 27th:

The Medicine Abuse Project LIVE: “Hope For Recovery” Webinar– 12 p.m. ET: The Partnership at and A&E Networks will host a webinar focused on recovery from medicine abuse. Featured panelists will include: Gil Kerlikowske, director of The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP); Dr. Bertha Madras, professor at Harvard Medical School and former deputy director of demand reduction for ONDCP; Jeff Van- Vonderen, an interventionist from A&E’s hit television reality show Intervention, and a young adult in recovery from teen medicine abuse, who will share her personal experience.

The Medicine Abuse Project LIVE: Meet The Parents Hour: Taking place on The Partnership at’s Facebook timeline, participants can tune into a live, one-hour chat and Q&A session.

The Medicine Abuse Project Launches Initiative to End Growing Epidemic 2

Saturday, September 29th:

Drug Enforcement Administration-Facilitated National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

10 a.m. – 2 p.m.: Consumers can safely dispose of their unused medications at sites around the country operated by local law enforcement partners.

 Many parents talk to their kids about drinking and driving, sex and even smoking, but prescription drug abuse isn’t even on their radar. It is time we get educated and start talking about it. Support this cause by liking their Facebook page, following the campaign on Twitter at @MedicineAbuse or joining the online conversation using the hashtag #endmedicineabuse. And, take the Pledge to learn about teen medicine abuse, how to safeguard your medicines and ways to talk to the teens in your life about this issue.

Get educated!

Michele Borba

You can follow me on twitter @micheleborba for the latest news on parents and educational issues as well as solutions.



Resources for this blog:

[1] United States Drug Enforcement Administration

[2] 2011 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study, sponsored by MetLife Foundation

[3] National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)

[4] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

[5] Ibid

[6] Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, 2007


[8] The Partnership at