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Study: 75% of teens report increased knowledge from prescription drug prevention program

April 16, 2013
by Shannon Brys, Associate Editor
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Results released recently by the independent research firm Touchstone Research Institute, reveals the 2012 teen prescription drug abuse pilot program, WAKE UP!, to be a success. Compared to a benchmark survey of approximately 3,800 students conducted prior to the program launch, data shows that more than 75 percent of all respondents were significantly more aware of the dangers of misusing and abusing prescription drugs.

WAKE UP!, established by The Pain Truth, a Florida 501(c)(3), was implemented into five pilot schools, thanks in part to a grant from Millennium Laboratories, three in San Diego, CA, and two in Tampa Bay, FL. The objective of the in-school prescription drug educational program is to raise awareness, increase knowledge, and change perceptions concerning the misuse and abuse of controlled prescription medications among high school students, providing students with knowledge to make better decisions and prevent first use.  WAKE UP! uses multi-media, social marketing and other tactics that are familiar and appealing to teens, but WAKE UP! program developers believe the real motivating force is the science-based facts presented to the students.

Additional findings from the survey demonstrate that nearly half of students believe that the program would change the behavior of their peers. After being exposed to WAKE UP!, attitudes and behaviors concerning prescription drugs changed, with between 30 percent and 40 percent of students expressing more concern about a friend's or family member's drug use, and reported that they were more likely to tell a parent, teacher, doctor or other trusted adult about their own or others' drug use. Additionally, over 90 percent of teens surveyed now understand that people are at risk of harming themselves if they use prescription drugs not prescribed to them.

"The results of the study are overwhelmingly positive and clearly indicate the WAKE UP! campaign can have tremendous, beneficial outcomes," says Lora Brown, MD, a Board Certified Pain Management Physician and Medical Director for WAKE UP!. "Our team is looking forward to the future, and all that we can do in schools and communities across the country with WAKE UP! takeovers, and sustainability through our CORE Ambassador student teams that we leave behind and continue to work with after the initial campaign."