SANTA FE ― the New Mexico Human Services Department (HSD) Office of Substance Abuse Prevention (OSAP) announced Tuesday a new statewide prevention campaign to further combat prescription drug abuse.
Called A Dose of Reality, the campaign educates youth and their parents about the serious risks of addiction and overdose from prescription painkiller abuse.
Every day, almost 2,500 youth nationwide between the ages of 12 and 17 will abuse prescription drugs for the first time. In New Mexico, nearly one in 11 high school students report having abused prescription painkillers. New Mexico also ranks 3rd highest in the nation for teen non-medical use of pain relievers at 6.8 percent, compared to 5 percent nationwide.
Last December, Governor Susana Martinez announced that New Mexico’s drug overdose fatality rate decreased by 16 percent between 2011 and 2013. The overdose fatality rate decreased from first in the nation in 2009 to third in 2012, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). New Mexico continues to make great strides in reducing prescription drug abuse.
The campaign includes three commercials aimed at teens, advertisements in pharmaceutical prescription drug bags that promote safe storage and proper disposal, and a parent resource toolkit. The campaign is being funded by a grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP).
“Many kids mistakenly believe prescription drugs are safer to abuse than illegal street drugs and we need to dispel the myths associated with abusing prescription painkillers,” said HSD Behavioral Health Services Division Director Wayne Lindstrom. “12 to 17 year olds abuse prescription drugs more than they abuse heroin, crack and cocaine, ecstasy, and methamphetamine combined. Prescription drugs most commonly abused by teens are prescription painkillers.
We need to educate teens and their parents on the risks of abuse.”
In New Mexico, teen prescription drug abuse is exceeded only by marijuana use. Two-thirds of teens who abuse pain medicine report getting it from family members or friends, often by simply opening a medicine cabinet. In many cases, parents can cut the home supply simply by safely storing and properly disposing of any unused pills.
OSAP will also collaborate with a network of community prevention coalitions to educate local communities.
For more information on statewide and county specific data and to view the advertisement videos, visit here.
About The Office of Substance Abuse Prevention (OSAP):
OSAP is an office of the Behavioral Health Services Division within the New Mexico Human Services Department and seeks to build community-based capacity of the state’s local prevention providers to deliver effective prevention services aimed at reducing alcohol, tobacco, and other drug abuse.