Pilot Program Seeks to Address Abuse and Proper Disposal of Prescription Drugs
Oct. 23, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
(SAMHSA) announced the launch of a first-of-its-kind pilot program for
providing point-of-sale substance abuse prevention information sheets
to the consumers of highly abused prescription drugs.
These sheets highlight the need for preventing the abuse of these
medications and provide practical advice on how to properly store
medication and dispose unused amounts. This effort aims to combat the
growing abuse of prescription drugs -- particularly among teens and
Recently released data from the 2006 National Survey of Drug Use and
Health indicate that while levels of illicit drug abuse among youth had
declined in many areas over the past few years, prescription drug abuse
has grown significantly. For example, the level of nonmedical use of
prescription drugs among young adults increased from 5.4 percent in
2002 to 6.4 percent in 2006, due largely to an increase in the
nonmedical use of pain relievers.
"Prescription drug abuse is a serious public health problem, and we
must take decisive action against it," said SAMHSA Administrator Terry
Cline, Ph.D. "Most prescription drug abusers say they get access to
these drugs through a friend or relative. That's why this program is so
important -- consumers need to understand that these beneficial
prescription medications can pose serious potential health risks if
abused, and if they fall into the wrong hands. Armed with this abuse
prevention information and advice on how to properly store and dispose
of these drugs, consumers can play a major role in helping eliminate
SAMHSA is using the services of the prescription drug marketing firm
Catalina Marketing Corp. to deliver prescription drug abuse prevention
messages to consumers of highly abused prescription drugs, such as
hydrocodone, select sleep aids and oxycontin (generic and brand name).
Using new technology that automatically selects the appropriate abuse
prevention information sheet according to the prescription being
purchased, a consumer will get an abuse prevention information sheet
when they have their prescription for one of these drugs filled at a
pharmacy participating in this program.
This effort is a 26-week pilot project involving among 6,300
pharmacies throughout the country. The agency will measure the
program's effectiveness by monitoring Web-based feedback from the
public and determining how widely and effectively the program has
reached out to consumers with these abuse prevention messages. Based on
these assessments, SAMHSA will determine whether to terminate,
continue, modify and/or expand this effort.
Additional information on this program can be found at http://www.samhsa.gov/rxsafety.