Sunday, December 26, 2010

Drug Abuse: A Prescription For Disaster

When you think of drug abuse, chances are illegal drugs - like marijuana, crystal meth, and cocaine - are the first drugs to come to mind.  But, today's youth are increasingly turning to prescription drugs (particularly pain killers like OxyContin, Percodan, and Percocet) to get high.

According to Yahoo! Health, the rate of prescription painkiller abuse among teens rose 17% in the past year alone. Where are teens getting these drugs?  Friends, family members, and unsecured medicine cabinets.

Prescription drug abuse has become serious business. Serious enough that The Partnership at (formerly known as the Partnership for a Drug-Free America) has launched a new TV campaign focused entirely on this issue. The first ad in this two-ad campaign highlights a series of facts about the daily milestones that occur in the life of a teen.

1,147 will attempt to grow a mustache
1,068 will have their first kiss
1,480 will enter the work force
2,500 will abuse prescription drugs for the first time
And tomorrow ... some will wish they hadn't.

In the second somewhat disturbing spot, called "Surgery," the viewer witnesses a doctor conducting abdominal surgery on a patient. He closes the patient's incision and removes his surgical mask ... to reveal a young teen. As the camera pans out, the viewer sees that the teen actually conducted surgery on himself. The ad ends with a chillling voiceover: "Every year, 2 million kids play doctor by taking pills not prescribed to them."

The ads are accompanied by a Facebook site that offers help and support for parents and teens, in addition to advice on how to prevent, intervene, get treatment, and recover from drug abuse.

The Partnership at new campaign offers serious food for thought...especially for parents. But, the real question is whether this campaign will successfully reach teens and be sufficiently motivating to supersede peer pressure. 

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