Silver Spring, Md. — Addiction expert and national TV and radio personality Dr. Drew Pinsky (Dr. Drew) is speaking out 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.
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."
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