CADCA and Leading OTC Medicine Makers Commend U.S. Senate for Recognizing August as National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month

Plan Nationwide Town Hall Meetings to Educate Communities on Dangers of Cough Medicine Abuse

Washington, D.C. (June 29, 2007)—Earlier this week, the United States Senate passed S. Res. 225, a resolution designating August 2007 as "National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month." Recent studies have spotlighted medicine abuse as an alarming trend among young people, including over-the-counter cough medicines, in which teens are intentionally taking large amounts of cough medicine to get "high" from the active ingredient dextromethorphan.

The Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), which represents the leading makers of over-the-counter cough medicines, applaud this effort to increase awareness about the problem of medicine abuse and commend Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr., (D-Del.) for his leadership on this issue and the U.S. Senate for its swift passage of this initiative. S. Res. 225, introduced by Senator Biden and adopted June 26, encourages parents to educate themselves and to talk to their teens about the dangers associated with medicine abuse. According to research conducted by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, one in 10 teenagers—or about 2.4 million young people—reports having abused cough medicine to get high.

"Consumers have trusted the makers of over-the-counter medications with the health of their families for many years. Now, it’s our turn to alert communities and educate parents about a growing problem: the intentional abuse of cough medicines," said Linda A. Suydam, D.P.A., president of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA). "We know that far too many parents are unaware of the potential dangers associated with medicine abuse. This resolution will help us build awareness to this problem and get the message to parents and teens that abusing medicine to get 'high' is very dangerous."

Dovetailing this effort, CADCA and CHPA will be taking its educational programming on the road, through its participation in town hall meetings nationwide with local CADCA affiliates throughout the month of August. These groups will be hosting town hall meetings in several states and encouraging leaders across the country to host a town hall meeting in their own community in order to build on this national awareness momentum. Tools will be available for all communities wishing to participate in this inaugural awareness initiative.

In February 2007, CADCA and CHPA launched a campaign to educate communities about how to prevent cough medicine abuse among teenagers. A centerpiece of the campaign was the educational toolkit, A Dose of Prevention: Stopping Cough Medicine Abuse Before It Starts which arms parents, educators, retailers, community leaders and others with critical information to address the problem of cough medicine abuse.

"We are pleased that the U.S. Senate recognizes the importance of addressing cough medicine abuse, "said Gen. Arthur T. Dean, CADCA chairman and CEO. "Designating August as National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month provides community coalitions leaders with a national platform to raise awareness, form partnerships, and work together to reverse this troubling trend."

Reporters interested in speaking with Dr. Suydam can contact Elizabeth Funderburk or Virginia Cox at 202.429.9260. Reporters interested in speaking with General Dean can contact Natalia Martinez Duncan or Mary E. Elliott at 703.706.0560.

Note: More information about the CADCA/CHPA town hall initiative and the Dose of Prevention Toolkit is available online at http://www.StopMedicineAbuse.org.

Contacts: Elizabeth Funderburk, CHPA, 202.429.9260
Natalia Martinez Duncan, CADCA, 703.706.0560


About the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA)
CHPA, founded in 1881, is a member-based association representing the leading manufacturers and distributors of nonprescription, over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and nutritional supplements. Many CHPA member products provide millions of Americans with safe, effective, and convenient therapies for the treatment and prevention of many common ailments and diseases. To learn more about CHPA, visit www.chpa-info.org.

CHPA is currently spearheading several major campaigns to raise awareness of dextromethorphan abuse, including the comprehensive Web site www.StopMedicineAbuse.org, and also working with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, and D.A.R.E America in these efforts. The Association’s work includes English- and Spanish-language educational resources for parents and community leaders, an online campaign (www.FiveMoms.com) geared specifically toward parental awareness, public service announcements and web sites for both parents and teens.

About the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA)
CADCA is the national membership organization representing over 5,000 coalitions working to make America’s communities safe, healthy and drug-free. CADCA’s mission is to build and strengthen the capacity of community coalitions by providing technical assistance and training, public policy advocacy, media strategies and marketing programs, conferences and special events. For more information about CADCA, visit www.cadca.org.