September 25, 2017 —

Prescription drug abuse is becoming a public health issue across the country. Misuse – whether intentional or accidental – can lead to addiction and oftentimes death by overdose. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports drug poisoning deaths have more than tripled since 1999, with more than 16,000 deaths in 2016 alone. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, young adults are the biggest abusers of prescription drugs, particularly in the form of opioid pain relievers, ADHD stimulants, and anti-anxiety drugs.

National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month (NMAAM) is an annual campaign, observed throughout the month of October, to raise the public’s awareness of the dangers of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medicine abuse.

Study data found that more than 1,700 young adults died in 2014 from prescription drug overdose; for every death due to prescription drug overdose, there were 119 emergency room visits and 22 treatment admissions. NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) states that teens misuse prescription drugs for a number of reasons, such as to get high, to stop pain or because they think it will help them with school work.

“Prevention is the key to reducing – and ideally eliminating – prescription drug misuse, not only in teens but adults as well,” said General Arthur T. Dean, Chairman and CEO of CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America). “The prescription drug epidemic is severely impacting our communities across the country and we need to stop the misuse before it starts through community-specific prevention strategies. Leaders from all sectors know their communities best and can provide invaluable insight into what strategy, message or campaign will resonate the most.” 

While prescription drug abuse tends to be more top of mind, NMAAM also presents us with the opportunity to raise awareness about OTC medicine abuse. Today, roughly one out of three teenagers knows someone who has abused OTC cough medicine to get high. 

Prevention specialists, community leaders and coalition members across the country are encouraged to take part in NMAAM and help raise awareness about the dangers of both prescription drug and OTC medicine abuse by joining the Dose of Prevention Challenge.

How? Coalitions create campaigns in their community, such as an educational event or innovative contest, to raise awareness about medicine abuse. To recognize those who step up to the challenge, CHPA (Consumer Healthcare Products Association), in partnership with CADCA, will select three coalitions for special recognition and prizes. The first-place winner will be named the Dose of Prevention Award recipient and will be recognized at CADCA’s National Leadership Forum Awards Luncheon. The first-place winner will also receive one full scholarship to the National Leadership Forum and a $1,500 cash reward for their coalition. Second and third places will each receive one complimentary registration to Forum.

As you brainstorm your community’s Dose of Prevention activity, check out 2016’s winner: Shelby County Drug Free Coalition from Shelbyville, Indiana!

 

Angelique Wilkins is CADCA’s Vice President of Meetings, Marketing and Communications. In this capacity, Ms. Wilkins is responsible for managing CADCA’s communications and marketing efforts, and for planning and executing CADCA’s national meetings (National Leadership Forum and Mid-Year Training Institute) and major special events (Drug Free Kids Campaign Dinner).

Ms. Wilkins brings over 25 years of executive level, domestic and international planning and management experience to CADCA. The majority of her career was spent in the non-profit association sector; prior to joining CADCA, Ms. Wilkins worked for Mathematical Association of America, Futures Industry Association, Council on Foundations and Association of Analytical Chemists. Before focusing on association management, Ms. Wilkins worked for a consulting firm providing contract and logistics management for clients across multiple industries. In her spare time, Ms. Wilkins lends her planning expertise to various charities, helping to organize and promote their fundraising events and activities. Ms. Wilkins earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Georgetown University in Government/Political Science.