ONDCP Initiative To Combat Teen Prescription Drug Abuse
Teen Prescription Drug Abuse
White House Office of National Drug Control Policy is launching its first major Federal effort to educate parents about teen prescription drug abuse.
This national public awareness campaign will begin with advertising during this year's Super Bowl, and is ONDCP's first paid TV advertising targeting parents in nearly two years. The effort includes broadcast, print, and online advertising, community outreach, and new print and online resources to help parents and communities combat the troubling trend of teen prescription drug abuse. The Administration will leverage $14 million to generate nearly $30 million in advertising. The ads were made in collaboration with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America (The Partnership), with pro bono creative provided by Draftfcb New York.
Though overall teen drug use is down nationwide, more teens abuse prescription drugs than any other illicit drug, except marijuana; more than cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine combined. Every day, 2,500 kids age 12-17 abuse a prescription painkiller for the first time and more people are getting addicted to prescription drugs. Drug treatment admissions for prescription painkillers increased more than 300 percent from 1995 to 2005. Teens are abusing prescription drugs because many believe the myth that these drugs provide a "safe" high. Especially troubling is that the majority of teens who abuse prescription drugs say they are easy to get and are often free.
"When used as prescribed, prescription painkillers can be tremendously beneficial. But their abuse is becoming a serious public health and addiction problem. We may be unintentionally providing our teens a new way to get high," said John P. Walters, Director, National Drug Control Policy. "Most teens who abuse prescription drugs say they get them from home, or from friends and relatives. We need parents to recognize that not all drug threats to their teens come from the street corner. Prescription drugs are in practically every home and parents can have an immediate impact on stopping teen prescription drug abuse."
Research shows many parents are not aware of teen prescription drug abuse and are not discussing the dangers with their teens. Only a third of parents (36%) have discussed the risks of prescription drugs with their teen, even though research shows that parental disapproval is a powerful way to keep teens away from using drugs.
"The need has never been greater for parents to learn the facts about this dangerous behavior which has become entrenched among teens," said Steve Pasierb, President and CEO of The Partnership. "Partnership research indicates that both parents and teens have a perilous misconception that abusing medicines is safer than using street drugs, and that is simply not true. Parents are the most important influence in helping teens make healthy choices, and talking about the dangers of intentional prescription and OTC drug abuse must be at the forefront of parent-teen conversations. We applaud ONDCP for their responsiveness to the data on this issue and for their action to alert more parents to the facts."