CADCA, CHPA, and PhRMA Join Forces to Educate Parents and Youth about Dangers of Medicine Abuse

Distributes anti-drug abuse educational materials to newspapers nationwide

Washington, D.C. (September 10, 2008)—Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) are introducing a new tool in the fight against medicine abuse. Provided to 250 Newspaper in Education programs nationwide as well as online, this 16-page newspaper supplement aims to educate young people and parents about the dangers of abusing over-the-counter cough medicine and prescription drugs. The supplement, entitled “Stay Smart, Don’t Start: The Truth About Drugs and Alcohol,” was developed jointly by CADCA, CHPA and PhRMA as part of its collective effort to raise awareness and fight medicine abuse.

Recent studies have spotlighted medicine abuse, including the abuse of over-the-counter cough medicines, as an alarming trend among young people. The 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, released last week by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), found a 12 percent increase in the number of 18-to-25 year olds abusing prescription painkillers between 2002 and 2007. Data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s (NIDA’s) Monitoring the Future survey shows that four percent of eighth graders, five percent of 10th graders, and seven percent of 12th graders have abused over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicine to get high. Teens who intentionally abuse cough medicine are intentionally taking excessive amounts—sometimes up to 50 times the recommended dose—to get “high” from the active ingredient dextromethorphan (DXM).

“When used correctly, medicines containing dextromethorphan have a 50-year history of being safe and effective. But when abused in extreme excess, dextromethorphan can produce dangerous side effects, especially when combined with alcohol, illicit drugs, or certain prescription drugs,” said Linda A. Suydam, D.P.A., CHPA president. “The leading makers of these medicines are steadfast in their commitment to raise awareness about the dangers of cough medicine abuse and are pleased to work with CADCA and PhRMA to address medicine abuse nationwide.”

"Prescription medicines improve the lives of millions of patients every day," says Billy Tauzin, PhRMA's President and CEO. "The misuse of these medicines is tragic, and I believe we have an obligation to ensure that they are used properly. This supplement helps prevent medication abuse by actively reaching out to households and schools all across the country."

“While national surveys show that overall illicit drug use among youth is on a downward trend, unfortunately the rates of over-the-counter and prescription drug abuse are holding steady. CADCA and our partners share a common goal—to reduce the abuse of these medicines,” said Gen. Arthur T. Dean, CADCA Chairman and CEO. “This project represents yet another ‘teachable moment’ that parents, community leaders and teachers can take to the youth in their lives make positive choices.”

The supplement contains valuable information about the scope of the problem of youth alcohol, illicit drug, and medicine abuse; slang terms that teens use to describe OTC cough medicine and prescription drug abuse; and steps parents can take to prevent medicine abuse in their families. It also includes examples of what youth can do to get involved in drug prevention in their communities and helpful online resources for teens, parents, and teachers. The supplement was published in the Washington, D.C. metro area in The Washington Times on Sept. 9, 2008, and is available online at: The educational supplement programs reach over 100,000 schools, 300,000 teachers, 14 million students, in addition to an estimated 100 million daily newspaper readers. For additional information on educational programming to help curb medicine abuse, visit

Contacts: Mary Elizabeth Elliott, CADCA, 703.706.0560 x.247
Elizabeth Funderburk, CHPA, 202.429.3520
Pamela Squires, PhRMA, 202.835.3460

About 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

About the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA)
CHPA, founded in 1881, represents the leading manufacturers and distributors of nonprescription, over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and nutritional supplements. CHPA member products provide millions of Americans with safe, effective, and convenient therapies for the treatment and prevention of many common ailments and diseases. CHPA currently is spearheading several major campaigns to raise awareness about cough medicine abuse. To learn more about CHPA, visit

About the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. PhRMA companies are leading the way in the search for new cures. PhRMA members alone invested an estimated $44.5 billion in 2007 in discovering and developing new medicines. Industry-wide research and investment reached a record $58.8 billion in 2007. To learn more about PhRMA, visit