New Campaign Aims to End Growing Prescription Drug Abuse Among Teens

Non-profit charity to educate public on dangers and risks of prescription drug abuse

TORONTO, May 26, 2011 /CNW/ - The goals are twofold: To educate parents on the growing dangers of prescription drug abuse among Canadian teens and to highlight the risks of driving while under the influence of drugs. With these mandates in mind, the Partnership for a Drug-Free Canada (PDFC) today announced the launch of a nation-wide public awareness campaign on the non-medical use of prescription drugs by teens.

In a recent study * 20 per cent of teens said they had taken a prescription drug to get high and three quarters of them said they stole it from home. The PDFC hopes to get the message out to parents to keep their medication in a secure location and have a talk with their kids about drug abuse. The campaign will launch in June 2011.

"The problem of drug use makes many of the other problems we face more difficult to solve," said Richard Pound, Chair of PDFC.  "Crime, HIV, family breakdown, lower educational achievement, workplace accidents, and other issues are compounded when drugs are added to the mix. It's also been proven that the problem of youth "Taking Drugs & Driving" is now worse than "Drinking & Driving. "

Almost twice as many young people admit to driving after taking drugs than alcohol and 40 per cent of them say they were driven in a car by someone who had just taken. These statistics** are alarming for obvious reasons, so the need for a targeted and comprehensive program that will reduce this trend is not only timely, but necessary. While the public campaign against "Drinking and Driving" has been widely effective in the past 20 years, the same cannot be said for the growing problem of "Drugs and Driving." The PDFC hopes to create greater awareness for this issue as well as offer advice for prevention to both parents and teens.

The PDFC is a private sector initiative that is an alliance between the media and the advertising community.  The objective is to reduce the trial of illegal drugs through a massive and continuous media campaign about prevention, messages directed to youth and their parents. Based on findings that Canadians take more painkillers per capita than almost any other country, ** the need for this partnership is more pressing now than ever. A registered charity comprised of a variety of private-sector sponsors, the mandate of the organization includes the education of parents about the seriousness of teen drug use and arming parents with tools to open up a meaningful dialogue with their kids.

A survey*** on this topic revealed that kids who learn about the risks of drugs from their parents are up to 50 per cent less likely to become drug abusers. While the campaign against drinking and driving has garnered considerable media coverage and "buy-in" from the larger public, the problem of drug use amongst teens remains widely unaddressed.

"There was a time when drinking and driving was a common practice and through targeted public awareness campaigns, the view on this type of activity is now almost universally frowned upon," said Pound. "We hope to have the same success through the PDFC activities in order to decrease drug use among our youth."

*(CAMH - 2009 Ontario youth Study)

**Source: Health Canada Addiction Survey - Substance use by Canadian Youth

***Globe and Mail

****PDFA PATS Study 2008

SOURCE Partnership for a Drug-Free Canada

For further information:

Media contact:

Samantha Kemp-Jackson, APEX Public Relations, sjackson@apexpr.com, (416) 924-4442 X248

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Partnership for a Drug-Free Canada

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