Study Reveals 75% of Teens Report Increased Knowledge from Prescription Drug Prevention Program

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WAKE UP! to Present This Week at Native American Youth Forum, and Clinton Global Initiative University Conferences

The data show that WAKE UP! is having a positive impact, raising awareness and changing behaviors through education, which will ultimately protect our communities, our families and preserve our children’s lives.

Results released this week by the independent research firm Touchstone Research Institute, reveal the 2012 teen prescription drug abuse pilot program, WAKE UP!, to be a success. Compared to a benchmark survey of approximately 3,800 students conducted prior to the program launch, data show that more than 75 percent of all respondents were significantly more aware of the dangers of misusing and abusing prescription drugs.

According to the U.S Office of National Drug Control Policy, most teens initially get prescription pills from family and friends, including straight from home medicine cabinets. Prescription drug abuse has become an epidemic in the United States. More than one-third of those abusing prescription drugs in the U.S. are between the ages of 12-17. Deaths from prescription drug overdoses have become the second leading cause of accidental deaths nationwide, and the leading cause in as many as 15 states.(1)

WAKE UP!, established by The Pain Truth, a Florida 501(c)(3), was implemented into five pilot schools, thanks in part to a grant from Millennium Laboratories; three in San Diego, and two in Tampa Bay, Fl. The objective of the in-school prescription drug educational program is to raise awareness, increase knowledge, and change perceptions concerning the misuse and abuse of controlled prescription medications among high school students, providing students with knowledge to make better decisions and prevent first use. WAKE UP! uses multi-media, social marketing and other tactics that are familiar and appealing to teens, but WAKE UP! program developers believe the real motivating force is the science-based facts presented to the students.

Additional findings from the survey demonstrate that nearly half of students believe that the program would change the behavior of their peers. After being exposed to WAKE UP!, attitudes and behaviors concerning prescription drugs changed, with between 30 percent and 40 percent of students expressing more concern about friend’s or family member’s drug use, and reported that they were more likely to tell a parent, teacher, doctor or other trusted adult about their own or others’ drug use. Additionally, over 90 percent of teens surveyed now understand that people are at risk of harming themselves if they use prescription drugs not prescribed to them.

“The results of the study are overwhelmingly positive and clearly indicate the WAKE UP! campaign can have tremendous, beneficial outcomes,” says Lora Brown, MD, a Board Certified Pain Management Physician and Medical Director for WAKE UP!. “Our team is looking forward to the future, and all that we can do in schools and communities across the country with WAKE UP! takeovers, and sustainability through our CORE Ambassador student teams that we leave behind and continue to work with after the initial campaign."

“We are a part of the WAKE UP! campaign for one reason: to educate youth on the dangers of misusing prescription medications,” said Howard Appel, President of Millennium Laboratories. “The data show that WAKE UP! is having a positive impact, raising awareness and changing behaviors through education, which will ultimately protect our communities, our families and preserve our children’s lives.”

WAKE UP! has been invited to present the campaign and new research results at two upcoming national conferences.

The first is the Native American Youth Forum – Drug Abuse Education for a Community Response taking place April 5 at Pala Resort, northeast of San Diego. Statistics show that prescription drug abuse impacts American Indian/Alaska Native communities at a higher rate than any other racial group.(2) Loretta Avent, Former Deputy Assistant to President Clinton for Intergovernmental Affairs, White House Liaison to Indian Country and Liaision to First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Office, in her continued commitment to try to help improve the lives of Native American youth, collaborated with Millennium Laboratories to bring together tribal representatives from across the U.S., including Native American youth, elders and tribal leaders, to learn about the WAKE UP! campaign, as well as outreach and best practices for educating Native American youth on illicit and prescription substance abuse.

Dr. Brown was also asked to speak at the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative University event at Washington University in St. Louis. She will be among a roster of influential thought leaders that includes entertainers, reporters, and fellow non-profit agencies and social activists. On April 6, Brown will take part in the panel discussion, “Ensuring Medication Safety: The Overlooked Epidemic of Prescription Drug Misuse” with panelists that include, Actor Matthew Perry, Young People in Recovery Member Sarah Nerad, and Deputy Director for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Michael Botticelli.

Dr. Brown and the WAKE UP! team will be tweeting live from both events. Follow all the action @TeenRxAbuse or join the conversation using the hashtag #RxTalk.

If you’d like to receive a copy of the full study report, send your request to info(at)wakeupnow(dot)org.

About WAKE UP!
WAKE UP! is a community educational campaign established by The Pain Truth, a Florida 501(c)(3), to combat the increase in prescription drug abuse among teenagers. It is designed to use science, not scare tactics, to educate teenagers of the effects and dangers of prescription drugs. The program uses a school “takeover” approach to reach thousands of students and their families with an extended program designed to teach not preach about the dangers of abusing and misusing prescription drugs. This program is unique in many ways. One of the most important aspects is sustainability through a school-based CORE of students and educators that remain present and active long after the original campaign is complete.

About Millennium Laboratories
Millennium Laboratories is the leading research-based, clinical diagnostic company dedicated to improving the lives of people with chronic pain and/or addiction. The company provides healthcare professionals with medication monitoring, drug detection and pharmacogenetic testing services to personalize treatment plans to improve clinical outcomes and patient safety. Millennium Laboratories provided funding for WAKE UP! to help develop the program and launch the bi-coastal pilots. More information can be found at http://www.millenniumlabs.com.

(1) U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration
(2) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Results from the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health

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Nicole Beckstrand
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