Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and HIDTA Announce New, Joint Effort to Address the Country’s Heroin and Opioid Crisis

~ New Resource, “Heroin and Other Opioids: From Understanding to Action,” Launches on Drugfree.org ~

NEW YORK (April 12, 2016) – The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, a national nonprofit working to reduce substance abuse among adolescents, announced today a new, comprehensive resource to help families and communities address the country’s growing heroin and prescription drug abuse crisis. With funding and support from the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTAs) in the eastern United States, Partnership President and CEO Marcia Lee Taylor, formally launched the Partnership’s educational initiative, “Heroin and Other Opioids: From Understanding to Action,” at the 2016 National Rx Abuse and Heroin Summit in Atlanta, GA.

The Partnership brings its leadership on the issue of teen medicine abuse to bear in three components of the HIDTA strategy: community education, online education and tools and peer-to-peer parent support.

“The HIDTA program invests in partnerships to build safe and healthy communities. One of our goals in this effort is to help families who are struggling with an opioid or heroin issue and direct them to valuable information from a trusted resource,” said Chauncey Parker, Director of the New York/New Jersey HIDTA. “We are excited to work with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids because they are experts in translating the science of addiction for families, and because of their wealth of resources, both web-based and direct service, specifically focused on addressing the country’s opioid and heroin epidemic.”

“We are delighted to be working with HIDTA to educate families and communities about this epidemic and point them to resources where they can find help,” said Marcia Lee Taylor, President and CEO of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. “So many families are struggling and don’t know where to turn. Thanks to HIDTA, we are able to drive them to one destination where they can find information, support for their family and treatment resources for their loved one.”

The nonprofit has developed a presentation titled “Heroin and Other Opioids: From Understanding to Action” that can be delivered by local law enforcement and their community partners. There are two versions of the presentation: one for community mobilization and another for parent education.

The centerpiece of the presentation is a new film created by advertising and design agency Thornberg & Forester. This 1.5-minute piece is driven by a powerful story and supported with 3D animation and statistics to illustrate the devastation of the epidemic to communities across America.

“A big reason for our company’s existence is to help incredible groups like Partnership for Drug-Free Kids tell their story. Our primary goal was to not only present heavy facts, but to architect a heartfelt story that will resonate with viewers on an emotional level,” said Scott Matz, Founder, Director and CCO of Thornberg & Forester. “It’s time for this country to know what is really happening around us every day, and to learn who is affected by this epidemic. The story was crafted to see through the eyes, and to speak through the voice of a high-school student to the entire population of our nation. It’s our hope that this short, yet powerful piece will educate and help re-direct the lives of those who are struggling with this insidious disease.”

The online resource, drugfree.org/heroin, offers visitors a greater understanding of the issue, as well as actions that individuals and communities can take to affect change, whether that’s access to the Partnership’s science-based resources or links for local information. The new resource is mobile-friendly and includes:

  • facts about heroin’s risks and effects;
  • a guide on what medications can be abused;
  • an interactive infographic that shows one teen’s path from painkiller abuse to heroin;
  • information on safeguarding and disposal of unused, expired medications;
  • help for a loved one struggling with an opioid addiction with e-Books and treatment locators;
  • a medication-assisted treatment e-Book;
  • help for communities creating a plan for safe drug disposal;
  • a directory of state substance abuse agencies and initiatives to address heroin and other opioids;
  • access to the community education presentation; and more.

Finally, the Partnership’s parent volunteers and Toll-Free Helpline at 1-855-DRUGFREE, make up the third component of the HIDTA effort. Families concerned about a loved one who is using heroin, other opioids or any other drug of abuse can contact the Helpline where they will speak with experienced, bilingual social workers who will hear them out, help them develop a plan of action and identify resources in their community. Callers may also be connected with the Partnership’s trained, volunteer Parent Coaches, who have personal experience with a child’s substance use and are now giving back by helping other families during their moment of crisis.

To learn more about the Partnership’s effort to end teen medicine abuse, go to www.medicineabuseproject.org.

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