Silver Springs, Md. — As the rate of teen prescription drug abuse continues to rise in the United States, the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., today joined with addiction expert Dr. Drew Pinsky, to launch a new toolkit intended to help America's schools educate teens and their parents about the risks and consequences of abusing prescription medication.
The Schools Get Smart, Schools Take Action Tool Kit is part of Smart Moves, Smart Choices, a nationalinitiative of NASN and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., designed to inform parents, teens and educators about this growing problem of teen prescription drug abuse, and what they can do to combat it.
"According to a 2010 survey, 1 in 4 teens has abused a prescription medication, up from 1 in 5 teens in 2009,"(1,2) says addiction expert Dr. Drew Pinsky, who appears in Smart Moves, Smart Choices school assembly videos. "Teen prescription drug abuse is a problem of our time."
"Young people are putting themselves in danger—even dying—because they do not understand how dangerous these otherwise safe prescription medications can be when misused and abused," Pinsky continued. "School professionals who spend every day with teens are in a perfect position to drive this point home. I want to encourage schools to order the free School Tool Kit and begin a dialogue about teen prescription drug abuse today," Pinsky adds.
Flexible and simple-to-use, the School Tool Kit contains materials that will enable school professionals to raise awareness of teen prescription drug abuse by holding school assemblies, incorporating lesson plans into their curricula, and distributing informational materials to teens and parents. The Tool Kit includes school assembly videos featuring Dr. Drew, lesson plans, eye-catching posters, stickers, parent fliers, and student knowledge tests.
The Schools Get Smart, Schools Take Action Tool Kit is available free-of-charge to any school across America. The Tool Kit is available in hard-copy format or via digital download at the Smart Moves, Smart Choices Website: www.SmartMovesSmartChoices.org.
"As school nurses, we are committed to helping teens stay healthy, in school, and ready to learn," says Linda Davis-Alldritt, President of the National Association of School Nurses. "This free Tool Kit will enable schools to educate students and their parents so they can be aware and get smarter about teen prescription drug abuse. By holding school assemblies and incorporating lesson plans about this growing problem, schools can do their part to safeguard teens and ensure brighter futures."
Teen prescription drug abuse is a pervasive problem affecting young people across the nation:
- More teens abuse prescription drugs than illegal drugs, except for marijuana;3
- Prescription drugs are the drug of choice among 12 to 13 year olds;4
- Every day, approximately 2,500 young people use a prescription pain reliever for a non-medical use for the first time.5
The prescription drugs that teens most commonly abuse - painkillers, stimulants, and depressants - are often easily accessible - sometimes from a parent's medicine cabinet. In fact, 64 percent of teens (ages 12 to 17) who abuse prescription pain relievers say they got them from friends or relatives.6
"The scariest thing I ever hear a parent say is 'not my kid—he's a good kid—he would never abuse a prescription drug,'" adds Pinsky. "The reality is that every teen is at risk. Prescription drug abuse happens every day. By launching this School Tool Kit, the National Association of School Nurses and Janssen are providing valuable tools to educate students and parents about teen prescription drug abuse."
- The Partnership at DrugFree.org and MetLife Foundation. (2011). 2010 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS) Key Findings, 2.
- The Partnership at DrugFree.org and MetLife Foundation. (2010). 2009 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS) Key Findings, 2.
- White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. (2008). Prescription for Danger: A Report on the Troubling Trend of Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drug Abuse Among the Nation's Teens, 1.
- Results from the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 20.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Office Applied Studies. (2007). A Day in the Life of American Adolescents: Substance Use Facts. The OAS Report, 2.
- White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. (2008). Prescription for Danger: A Report on the Troubling Trend of Prescription and Over-the-Counter
Drug Abuse Among the Nation's Teens, 4.