The Partnership at Comments on National Survey on Drug Use and Health

Statement of Steve Pasierb, President

Survey: Prescription Drug Abuse Among Teens Remains Unchanged at What The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Calls “Epidemic” Levels

~New National Initiative Launches to Curb Teen Abuse of Medicine~

NEW YORK, N.Y. September 24, 2012 – Mixed news from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) released today by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), found that prescription drug abuse among young adults has decreased, while the dangerous behavior of abusing prescribed medicines remains unchanged among kids and teens.

The new survey found the number of young adults (ages 18 to 25) who used prescription (Rx) drugs for non-medical purposes in the past months declined 14 percent, from 2 million in 2010, to 1.7 million in 2011. Overall, the survey found a 12 percent decline in the number of Americans who abused prescription drugs.

NSDUH underscored the disturbing news that the non-medical use of Rx medicines among children (ages 12 to 17) remained unchanged and at levels that are unacceptably high and should serve as a renewed wake-up call for parents and caregivers to take action.

“These new data show the abuse of prescription medicine remains a pervasive problem among our nation’s youth and although there’s been improvement among young adults, medicine abuse is a health concern that continues to have a devastating impact on the lives of our children,” said Steve Pasierb, President and CEO of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. “As a society, we drastically underestimate the negative consequences that medicine abuse is having on teens. But the truth is that right now, this dangerous behavior is causing damage to families across the country. From the easy accessibility that teens have to medicines in their own homes, coupled with a low perception of risk in abusing them – to parents giving their own kids medicines that are not prescribed to them – we must all take action to stop this behavior. Our children’s lives depend on it.”

Prescription medicines are now the most commonly abused drugs among 12 to 13 year olds, and today more accidental deaths occur from drug overdoses, fueled by prescription painkillers, than from car crashes [1].

To help turn the tide on this national health concern – one that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now calls an “epidemic” – the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids has just launched The Medicine Abuse Project, a multi-year, national action campaign with the goal of preventing half a million teens from abusing medicine within five years.

With many influential voices joining the effort, The Medicine Abuse Project brings people together at the national and local levels – calling on parents, educators, health care professionals, government leaders, law enforcement, media partners, business and community members to create a groundswell and help curb this health epidemic. The Project is further bolstered by a multi-platform media campaign, with major support from national network and cable television, national magazines and newspapers, along with digital and social media.

Everyone has the opportunity to help end medicine abuse by visiting the new, dedicated website,, and taking the Pledge to become educated about the issue and talk with the kids and teens in their lives. The comprehensive site also features tools designed to help health care providers address the abuse of medications with their patients.

“With one in six teens admitting to using a prescription drug to get high or change their mood and 90 percent of addictions starting in the teenage years, Rx medicine abuse is an established problem we cannot ignore.  This is a critical health issue and one that has roots in adolescence. The time is now for each of us to take action to protect our families.” said Pasierb.

For more information visit the The Medicine Abuse Project.

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[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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    November 23, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    I ‘am a recovering addict and I currently work as a Chemical Dependency Counselor in Washington State. I spent over 30 years of my addicted to anything I could get my hands on. As a counselor I work in the local jails interviewing new clients and also I conduct assessments for treatment placement. For over 3 1/2 years I have interviewed hundreds of clients and over 90% have started using before 18. It’s time that this issue is brought to our schools and not after the fact. My wish is to do so but there’s no option to do this where I live!? I ‘am more that willing to offer my services….

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