CADCA and Leading Makers of OTC Medicines Call Communities to Action during National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month

Educational efforts in over 50 locations nationwide raise awareness about teen medicine abuse

Washington, D.C. (October 20, 2011)—Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), the nation’s leading substance abuse prevention organization representing over 5,000 community anti-drug coalitions across the country, and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), which represents the leading makers of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, have joined forces to honor their annual National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of youth prescription and OTC medicine abuse.

The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution last month that named October as National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month. The joint CADCA and CHPA campaign features a coordinated and concentrated effort to educate parents and youth of the potential dangers associated with prescription and OTC medicine abuse.

"As we work toward curbing teen cough medicine abuse, education and community engagement continue to be our most valuable tools,” said CHPA President and CEO Scott M. Melville. “National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month offers us the opportunity to provide additional resources to communities interested in raising awareness among parents and teens about the dangers of abusing cough medicine. Additionally, the leading makers of OTC cough medicines and our partners realize that as we tackle this issue head-on our efforts would be bolstered with federal legislative initiatives that would give parents further tools to address this type of abuse.”

These initiatives include a federal ban on sales of OTC cough medicines to teens under the age of 18 and a federal restriction against the sale of the raw, unfinished form of dextromethorphan to anyone other than an entity registered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy reports that medicine abuse is our nation’s fastest-growing drug problem. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2010, 2.4 million people abused prescription drugs for the first time. In addition, the 2010 Monitoring the Future Survey found that five percent of teens have abused over-the-counter cough medicines—sometimes as much as 25 to 50 times the recommended dose—containing the active ingredient dextromethorphan to get high over the past year. When abused in extreme excess, dextromethorphan can produce dangerous side effects, especially when combined with alcohol, illicit drugs, or certain prescription drugs.

“While prescription and over-the-counter medicines are safe and necessary for many people, too many teens are abusing these drugs to get high. We hope that our efforts during National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month will raise awareness of the numbers of young people who currently abuse medicines, and spur communities to action to prevent and reduce medicine abuse among youth,” said Gen. Arthur T. Dean, CADCA chairman and CEO.

National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month coincides with the beginning of the school year and offers a platform for communities nationwide to become involved in this important issue and to take advantage of free and downloadable free and downloadable educational materials. As a part of this effort, community anti-drug coalitions in more than 50 locations throughout the country will be hosting town hall meetings and educational forums in their communities throughout the month of October. These coalitions have access to the online toolkit—A Dose of Prevention: Stopping Cough Medicine Abuse Before It Starts—created by CHPA and CADCA. In addition, CADCA has developed a toolkit to help substance abuse prevention leaders reduce prescription drug abuse, titled Rx Abuse Prevention Toolkit: From Awareness to Action. To view the materials or to learn more about all of CADCA and CHPA’s activities to help curb prescription and OTC cough medicine abuse, visit PreventRxAbuse.org and StopMedicineAbuse.org.

Contacts:  Natalia Martinez Duncan, CADCA, 703.706.0560 ext 256 (w)
Jenni Terry, CHPA, 202.429.3520 (w)


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 cadca.org.

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 chpa-info.org.