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NFP Premiers Lock Your Meds® Initiative at Red Ribbon Week® Kickoff Event
Red Ribbon Week® celebrates 25 years with special guest speaker David Mineta, Deputy Director for Demand Reduction, Office of National Drug Control Policy
Miami, Florida – National Family Partnership® (NFP) and its affiliate Informed Families/The Florida Family Partnership joined together Monday, September 27, at the Victor E. Clarke Education Center to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Red Ribbon Week®, to premier the launch of the new Lock Your Meds® campaign and to kick off this year’s Red Ribbon Week® activities.
Orchestrated annually in schools across the nation, Red Ribbon Week® seeks to educate students and the community about the types of drugs being abused, the negative consequences of drug use and how it affects individuals, families, and communities around them. This October marks the 25th anniversary of the Red Ribbon Campaign, which started in 1985 when drug traffickers in Mexico City murdered Drug Enforcement Administration officer Kiki Camarena.
An alarming trend is emerging within America’s drug abuse problem. Prescription drug abuse is now the nation’s fastest growing substance abuse problem. Typical pharmacy drugs found in average household medicine cabinets are being abused more than all other illicit drugs combined, except marijuana. Unfortunately, those prescribed the medication are often not even aware that they have become a supplier.
Lock Your Meds® is a national multi-media campaign designed to reduce prescription drug abuse by making adults aware that they are the “unwitting suppliers” of prescription medications being used in unintended ways, especially by young people. The campaign will conduct its official nationwide launch October 25 during this year’s Red Ribbon Week, taking place October 23-31.
The campaign is produced by the National Family Partnership® (NFP), a growing network of local coalitions, government agencies, education, and parent groups who work to improve the lives of families at the grassroots level. NFP provides a national voice and valuable resources to these groups.
Lock Your Meds® is a call to action for all parents and families to take a stand against the alarming increase in prescription drug abuse. Since 70% of prescription drug abusers report getting the drugs from their friends and families, these “unwitting suppliers” can be a force in curbing the abuse.
“You may be a supplier and don’t know it,” said Peggy Sapp, President of NFP and frequent keynote speaker on parenting issues. “Be aware and don’t share your medications. We believe that when armed with appropriate information and tools, parents and grandparents can become our Number One line of defense against this dangerous epidemic.”
Today’s news headlines are filled with stories about “pill mills” and “doc shopping,” and while they are real problems, they are not the primary suppliers. Neither are typical drug dealers on the street. Prescription drugs are being taken from purses, medicine cabinets and grandma’s pill case. Most teenagers taking the drugs think they are safe because doctors prescribe them.
Every day, more than 4,000 young people begin experimenting with prescription drugs and the number of admissions to treatment facilities has increased fourfold in the last 10 years, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
“We must use every means at our disposal to reduce the serious threat to public health from prescription drug abuse” said David Mineta, Deputy Director of Demand Reduction for the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and keynote speaker at the Red Ribbon Kickoff. “This Administration’s 2010 National Drug Control Strategy makes addressing prescription drug abuse a top priority, and achieving that goal will require a coordinated effort across the medical, prevention, treatment, and enforcement communities.”
To help parents, NFP offers “The Communications Gap,” a glossary of terms teens use to describe popular abused drugs, such as “pancakes and syrup,” a combination of pills and cough syrup. Families can gather information about the extent of the problem by reading the “MEDucation Guide” and learn preventive steps from the “Parent Guide” to begin reversing the alarming trend.
The campaign web site (www.lockyourmeds.org) includes easy-to-use resources, such as a home medicine inventory card and guidelines on how to properly dispose of prescription medicine. Parents can take a stand against prescription drug abuse by signing a pledge and sharing their message with friends and family. “We don’t have to feel helpless,” said Sapp. “This is something very tangible that each and every one of us can do.”
“Pain medications serve a very useful purpose for those in need,” said Marsha Stanton, Senior Director of Advocacy for King Pharmaceuticals. “But in the wrong hands, they can be addictive and even deadly. Our advice is to take inventory, lock up your meds, talk to your children regularly about the dangers and join our campaign.” King Pharmaceuticals provides financial support for the campaign along with community education programs and new pain medications designed to make them safer.
For more information on prescription drug abuse or to download Lock Your Meds® materials, please visit https://lockyourmeds.org. For information on Red Ribbon activities in your area, please contact your local school district.
ABOUT INFORMED FAMILIES
A non-profit organization founded in 1982, the mission of Informed Families is helping kids grow up safe, healthy and drug-free. Informed Families focuses on educating, involving and empowering parents to work together to set boundaries and monitor their children’s behavior to prevent underage drinking, substance abuse and other harmful behaviors. Affiliated with the National Family Partnership®, Informed Families is best known for being the Florida Sponsor of the National Red Ribbon Campaign®. Informed Families also boasts multiple school and community based prevention programs targeting youth, parents and communities.
For more information on Informed Families, please visit our website at www.informedfamilies.org, or call us at (305) 856-4886.