Today, Congressman Harold "Hal" Rogers (KY-05) joined The Partnership at Drugfree.org's new national action campaign, The Medicine Abuse Project. The campaign has a goal to prevent half a million teens from abusing prescription drugs. While the issue of prescription drug abuse has devastated southern and eastern Kentucky for over a decade, medicine misuse and abuse among teenagers has emerged as a national issue, with one in six teens diverting prescription drugs for non-medical use. As part of The Medicine Abuse Project, Rogers encourages Kentuckians to sign the Pledge at MedicineAbuseProject.org, committing to get educated and do their part to control medicine abuse.
"In my region, prescription drugs have taken their toll on an entire generation, particularly our young people," said Rogers, Co-Chairman of the Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse. "Prescription medicines and over-the-counter cough medications have become the most commonly abused drugs among 12 to 13 year olds. If all of us take the pledge to clean out medicine cabinets and secure our prescriptions, we will greatly reduce the unfortunate misuse of these drugs by young people. Our region can't afford to let this cycle to continue."
"The majority of teens who abuse medicines get them from family and friends," said Steve Pasierb, President and CEO of The Partnership for Drugfree.org. "We need to change that. With the support of partners like Congressman Rogers, physicians, parents and teens themselves will be more aware of the dangers of medicine abuse."
Rogers helped kick off The Medicine Abuse Project during its launch week of September 23-29, 2012. Several campaign activities will lead up to National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, September 29, where the Drug Enforcement Administration and state, local, and tribal law enforcement and community partners will collect unwanted medicines in locations across the country. To join the effort, find a takeback location near you and take the pledge to stop medicine abuse at MedicineAbuseProject.org.
Rogers helped launch Operation UNITE in 2003 to battle the drug epidemic in southern and eastern Kentucky. The non-profit organization utilizes a three-pronged approach to rid the region of drugs through law enforcement, helping addicts afford substance abuse treatment, and raising awareness through education in the schools and every community.